Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker
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"Sirara" Tactical Combat Knife
I think it's important to include some of the email and correspondence I receive at jayfisher.com. On this page, I've included examples of letters, questions, inquiries, and responses along with some worthwhile commentary. I've also included some of the emails that I get concerning my website and knives to honor those who took the time and effort to email me, while expecting nothing but to pass on their good wishes and kindness. I've also included many testimonials to give you a glimpse of what I consider the greatest honor to offer in the service of making fine knives, swords, and works of art.
Knife making and knife selling go hand-in-hand, and every knife made, purchased, and delivered starts with words and ideas. The knife making conversation is integral to the creation of the piece, and in order to be successful, the knife maker must be comfortable with the language and description of the art, even if the knife client is not. This page should offer some ideas of how that conversation takes place, or if it does at all.
Most of the public that is not familiar with fine knives has limited and somewhat fixed ideas of what constitutes a fine knife. From early on I realized that a great deal of this profession is education, since knives can be a very refined and detailed field.
You'll see a lot of boxes on this page but there are only three types: emails (in gray), quotations (in green), and testimonials (in maroon). Some important points:
I have been reading your site with great interest for several days. I am convinced that you may indeed be the best knife maker in the world. I have tried through Google and internet searches to find another knife maker who thinks they are your equal. I have found none. There are many people on the internet who seem intent on bringing you down. My opinion of you remains unchanged. I have decided to begin saving for a Jay Fisher knife because I feel that in the future it will be an historically significant piece of American history.
Here are a few generalized comments that are frequently asked:
Jay, what is the best knife steel?
Oh, I get this one a lot. Someone wants a blade that will hold an edge forever, can shave hair off a mouse's tail, yet when it needs sharpening, a few light licks on the latest gimmick rod will transform it into a three pound razor. Sorry. Can't be. Knife steels are the most advanced they've ever been. High technology alloy tool steels are made the best they can be, metallurgy has reached it's pinnacle for our time. But there is no MAGIC STEEL. All steel uses, no matter the tool or application, must be carefully weighed for optimum performance. Fillet knives must be thin and springy, therefore cannot be extra hard, axes must be shock resistant and tough, therefore cannot be thin and brittle. A little common sense is required here. Use the best steel available for the application. And the application varies. So this is an unanswerable question. Try again.
What's the longest wearing steel?
What are you cutting?
Does it matter?
Yes, of course. Many materials are abrasive. Elk hair loaded with dirt (silicates and tiny rocks) is horribly abrasive. Some materials are acetic (fruits, blood, fats and fascia) and will etch the cutting edge away. Some plastics are amazingly abrasive.
But I've seen tests where knives cut rope over and over. What's the deal?
Looks neat, huh? This merely tests the edge's ability to cut rope on a board. So if that's what you want, harden a piece of high cobalt, high tungsten carbide to 85 Rockwell on the C scale. If you can possibly get an edge on it, it will just about never wear out. But don't drop it! It will shatter like glass. I'm being a bit facetious here, but look, a knife blade is usually used for a variety of operations. Cutting, scraping, slicing, picking, and light prying.
What You said never to pry with a knife!
You're in the advanced area of the web site, so let's get real here. Who hasn't lightly used the edge of a knife to dig, pull a tack out, lift a tough label. I said light.
So I just want to know what the best steel is! Is that so hard to answer?
Sure it is. Do you want hardness with a thick edge? Will it see heavy use? Do you need it thin for a sharper edge angle? Do you need high corrosion and stain resistance? Will you need to field sharpen it? Will it be used to flint-strike a fire? Will it be dropped? Do you need an aggressive tooth profile? Will it need an accurate spiked point for insertion? Do you need it easy to clean? Low reflectivity? Smooth profile? Shock profiled? Chop profiled? Will you clean it? Do you need to camo paint it? Will it reside in a block on your kitchen counter or is it destined to travel as an executive chef? Will it sit as a display on your office desk, or will you use it to cut roofing materials on the job? Is it a scalpel, a hammer, or a straight razor? Have you really considered just what, when, and how you'll use it? How much do you want to spend? Do you want a piece you can hand down to your grandchildren? Will it need to appreciate in value? Do you want to use it, then retire it on your mantle? Will it only gather dust on the inside of your credenza? Will you use it to castrate bulls, lop off rattlesnakes heads, dig in a Mesoamerican ruin? Will you dress ocean game fish on your yacht with the knife? Will you cut tangled hawsers, clear the skin off a helo, rescue a Navy Seal from a wrecked APC? Will you keep the natives at bay when they tell you you can't point your weapon unless you are ready to shoot? All of these scenarios are from knives I've made; that's why I ask.
Now if you're thoroughly confused, perhaps you'd better start with the FAQ page here. If you're thinking about all those conversational details I illustrated already, gather in some answered emails about knives on this very page, and please enjoy your stay!
Wanted to let you know how much I am loving the Sirara! The knife feels solid in the hand, no worries about slippage and the balance is beautiful. The curvature of the blade really promotes a clean slicing cut, and I have been enjoying the vampire rip teeth! No trouble returning it to the sheath. I have perfected that! Also the locking sheath is brilliant, and I can't imagine a blade without one.
I had ordered a knife last year and knew that you had many other blades in your line up, so as usual when looking at your website for what's new I also look to see if I might purchase a finished blade while I'm waiting for mine to be completed, and I found the Sirara. So happy with the purchase. The quality, materials, attention to detail, and your love for your 'craft' is very apparent.
I look forward to the knife you are currently working on, and have already begun thinking of what I want next!!
You are a true artist, craftsman, and creator of the sublime. Many thanks!
Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
I just got home from out of town and finally got to see the knife. I have read the reviews that the other customers have written. No one can truly understand the craftsmanship and beautiful artwork that you do until they hold one of your works of art in their own hands. This is truly one of a kind. I'm sure this piece will be handed down from generation to generation.
Thank you Jay for such an amazing knife.
Thanks for the website. I don't make knives, but you have a lot of
good info. Nice work, I wish I could afford one.
This kind of email is important to me, as it should be to any knife maker or any artist. Though Andy can't afford a knife now, his life will grow, change, and evolve as all of ours do, and one day he may remember the knife maker who's work he admires, and can now afford. I look forward to serving his needs at that future time.
Just walked in a few minutes ago ... knife was waiting for me when I arrived, and I must say at first glance it looked huge; however, once I took it out of the sheath it had that incredible feel that I have come to love with your knives. My PJLT Tac knife has been with me now on three different continents and it is now like and old friend. For my up coming deployment to OEF I wanted something with a little more bulk as well as something that I could carry in a survival/exfil mode...I must say this definitely looks and feels as if it has the perfect combination of length, weight, and balance to take on the most demanding tasks. I like the way you incorporated the webbing into this knife and it has the same secure locking mechanism that I have come to trust. After six months in OEF and another 60 days in Africa, I never once had the locking mechanism open while in motion. I carried it both upright and handle down on my vest and never once had a problem. I can't thank you enough Jay for your quick response and as in the past, having one of your blades close at hand is a very comforting feeling.
... I sing the praises of your knifes at every opportunity and I only wish that every
soldier, airman, sailor, marine, and civilian serving this great country of ours could
have the opportunity to carry one of your knives where ever they might find themselves - most
especially if that brings them into harm's way.
All the best Jay to you and yours and as always thank you very much.
What do people want? Collectors want something different, not the same old four inch drop point with a stag handle. They see the same liner lock heat-colored damascus folders with mastodon ivory handle scales. Yeah, I can make those, but why make everything everybody else does?
Jay, I would want a knife that would require the least amount of maintenance and i like the special sheath or holder where a person can release the knife with ease. and the blade. will it keep an edge? i have purchased many "good looking" knives that will not hold a blade and this is frustrating to me. i want a knife that will hold a blade if such a knife does exist. please school me on your knives as far as not rusting and holding a blade....thank you for your earlier reply. D.K.
This type of inquiry happens a lot. The guy means cutting edge, but it's my job to read between the lines to give him an answer he can hang his hat on:
D., 440C would be a good candidate for very little maintenance. It contains 17% Chromium and 1.25% carbon making
it the most corrosion resistant tool and die steel made. It is suitable for dive
knives in salt water. The only thing that "attacks" the steel is concentrated
ATS-34 is the next best thing. Three percentage points of chromium have been replaced by molybdenum, making ATS-34 a high chrome-moly tool steel. This allows for increased toughness, and is used where a thin cross-sectional area is used. It is more expensive than 440C.
Factory knives are usually made from 440A, 440B or 420 series stainless steels. The reason factories use these inferior steels is that they can be die-pressed (stamped) from sheet stock. The steels I use are usually what the dies are made from. The edge holding capability of properly heat-treated modern knife steels is astounding. A factory knife will typically need sharpened three times to field dress an elk, a good custom knife will dress three elk without ever touching the edge.
Sometimes, I get requests for "super-steel," a material that will hold an edge forever, cut through rocks, and will support a 280 lb. man when shoved into a tree. There is no such thing; that's Hollywood. But it is true that we have the technology to make the finest steels in existence today.
Sheaths: Leather is good, serviceable and attractive. Leather sheaths should last a generation with care, but are not waterproof. Kydex and aluminum frame with a tension fit is the next best type, and should last three generations. My best sheath is Kydex, aluminum, with a stainless steel locking mechanism, consisting of 38 components, suitable for ocean salt water. This military grade sheath will add $150 to the base price of a knife.
Thanks for writing,
Hello Mr. Fisher.
I just wanted to say how wonderful and valuable your site has been to me. Your works of art are true inspirations-not just as knives but as sculptures, beauty and functionality combined into one elegant piece, not just once but countless times over. It is as if your canvas on which you work is as plentiful as your imagination-which seems to be endless; blending every aspect of a project together and creating a uniform and whole piece of art. Your site has been the most educational site I have come across. In my opinion, without the detailed instruction of every process allows you to work on the philosophy behind the work-the dedication, reasoning, science and the means to creating something beautiful and timeless. And what is a learning experience if someone hands you all the information and solves your problems for you? So far as "instruction" goes, your site can not be beat... I am sixteen years old and have my own, and even successful business- thanks to you. I have learned a great deal, such as proper grinds, heat treating, sole authorship, the use of materials and even working with customers, just from the methodology behind every skillfully crafted knife and valuable insight on the many pages of your website. Your work has kept me going on pieces which I did not think I could finish, when I'm in the dumps because something has gone wrong-a quick browse on your site gives me the fervor and dedication to keep going. Not that I am even close to your skills or knowledge, but I hope someday I might be half as good. One day, If I am lucky enough I will own a Jay Fisher knife- and treasure it forever. I thought that if I never wrote this I would feel guilty... just thank you.
Please keep up the amazing and inspiring work.
I was tracking the package eagerly and was happy to find it arrived a day early. The knife is simply beautiful. Without being prone to hyperbole- it is the best knife I have ever held by far. I am so, so impressed. The balance is absolutely perfect. This is a beast of a knife, but it fits my hand like it was made for it- feels like an extension of my arm. The geometry of the blade is so perfectly symmetrical and the the cutting edge is surgical.
I remember reading your website where it says that you "make the real thing." I believed that statement when I read it, but now I feel what you mean. This is no factory production knife. I know our men in combat who carry your knives have confidence that the knife will stand up to any challenge. The kydex sheath is awesome and it locks the blade without even a slight jiggle. The accessories are such a nice touch and I greatly appreciated that you put that much thought into the components that would compliment the knife/sheath.
Jay, this is the finest object I have ever purchased. Thank you for being the professional that you are.
Jay Fisher, I have a difficult time with keeping up with what you say
the knife book will contain, but my question is simple. Will the book
include information on why some people make such ignorant comments such
as "Who would pay over a grand for a crappy knife?" (And this guy was
referring to all handmade knives, I tried telling him the difference but
he wouldn't listen.)
Hi B. Thanks for writing.
Though I’m working on the book, I don’t have a publish date yet. Right now, in addition to over a hundred knives on order and a four year waiting list, I’m undergoing a complete website rebuild to comply with new W3C guidelines. I’ve completed over 160 pages, but still have a large block to go. After that’s done, I can spend many more hours on the book and get it nearer to publication.
B., I understand the kind of people that you’re talking about. There is, unfortunately, a lot of ignorance, misinformation, and hype about knives in general both in published media and on the internet. Most people simply do not understand what goes into making a fine knife, much less what the long term value of fine and handmade custom knives is. There are a lot of comments you can make to people like this, but I’m afraid that if they don’t want to educate themselves, you cannot do it for them.
The best thing to do is find like-minded people who know the business and are actively engaged in it to have a meaningful conversation about it. Simply, put: who would pay over a grand for a knife? People who know the value and are comfortable with the price, that’s who. Many people don’t know the value, and are not comfortable with the price. There are many less expensive options for them, too!
The knife is absolutely beautiful, exactly what I was looking for. The Tiger Eye gemstone handle looks great!. It feels very massive in hand but seems to balance nicely . I feel like I could chop thru bone with it. If it wasn't so large I would carry it all the time, lol . The sheath sets it off perfectly btw. Beautiful job on the filing and etching , the leather work , all the little details.
Glad to hear the deposit made it! Our postal system here is far from efficient! I'm not too worried about how long you take. As I've said, this design has been in my head for a very long time. I can wait another year or two or whatever it takes. Thanks for taking the project on. The more I look at your website, the more I like some of your other designs. I can see myself possibly ordering again soon! Your gemstone handles are by far some of the most beautiful I've seen. I've yet to see any makers in Texas (or contiguous states, for that matter) at the shows produce handles such as these.
Have a good night,
I started making gem handled knives back in the very early 1980s. Back then, I thought I'd discovered something new and novel, only to find out later that the ancient Persians did some beautiful jade handles and even inlaid them with gold pique work. The difference today is one of expediency. With modern abrasives, we can do in days what it took years for the ancients to achieve. Still, no one else is making as many gem handled knives as I do and have. Though you'll hear many reasons, it's really very simple. To cut, carve, sand, and polish gemstone takes a tremendous amount of time. You can't whip out a handle in an hour or two, and the equipment to work with stone (diamond abrasives and cutters) is expensive and takes some time and practice to learn. Like fine mirror finishing on a blade, a lot of makers aren't willing to take the time and effort. So you see things like plastic rock (called stabilized) and imitation stone that goes by a variety of names, but is mostly polyester and acrylic.
Nothing looks, feels, and lasts like real rock. Take a look at a couple recent creations:
I've got some great new gem materials that I haven't slabbed out yet, and can't wait to use them!
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Hello sir. I am a big fan of you and your knives. I feel that you are a true professional craftsman. Not just in metal, but also in wood and leather. I’m afraid for the time being I do not have the kind of money for one of your knives. But someday, you will hear from me, and the knife you will make will be extraordinary! Sorry that this email isn’t to purchase, but you’ll be hearing from me again. Until then,
I must say as a knife aficionado, your site has been the most informative and detailed of any custom maker I have seen to date. I'm a soldier currently serving with the Second "Dagger" Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division and I'm contacting several artists in regards to a tactical fixed blade that I can carry with me here in Iraq. Your tactical blades section is more than impressive. I've sent correspondence to Jim Siska, Reese Weiland and David Broadwell all of whom I admire for their artistry but when I came upon your site it occurred to me that utility is just as, if not more important than the aesthetic. I am taken with the lines you use in particular for the "Treatymaker", "Phobos", and "Kadi" blades and the "Triton" kerambit looks nothing short of deadly efficiency bound to a hand held work of art.
Ok, so here's what I'd like to know. How much would it cost for a Kadi or Treatymaker style blade of S30v or D2 with the unit insignia of "The Big Red One" worked into the design of the blade, either with engraving or embossed or a change to the shape of the base of the blade if that would even work? Lignum-Vitae handle material and the fittings of your choice (with unit insignia possibly worked into the fitting instead if that would work better). Let me know what you think and what you can do and approximate price range for a blade length between 7 and 9 inches.
Hello, Ben. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about my work and web site. More than anything, thanks for your service to our country.
For a general idea, a single edged combat knife in the 7-9” blade length in bead blasted CPMS30V or D2 with 304 stainless steel fittings, micarta handle, and a tension fit kydex, aluminum, and steel sheath would start at $1600 and go up from there, depending on design, materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories. I also do the locking sheaths and variations and mounting options.
Ben, the problem is that currently, new orders are taking 48 months, due to a great demand and backlog. I have two options that you might consider: The first option is that I’m completing four new tactical knives (just finished the knives today and am starting sheaths tomorrow) that I will post for sale on the public part of the website. I don’t know if any of them would interest you; they are new designs.
Please let me know if you’re interested, and thanks again for your service.
Thanks for your quick response. 48 months is a long time to wait, but...by that time I'll probably be in my 5th combat tour and of course that would allow plenty of time for me to sock away enough to order up something truly unique and useful. During OIF 1 and OEF 6 I was a part of the 101st in the 716th MP Battalion out of Ft Campbell. I miss that place/unit quite a bit. I'll be making an attempt to go back to the "Peacekeepers" soon as I rotate back to the states. I'll keep in touch with you and we might be able to work on a design for the most highly decorated MP unit in the Army. I'll be keeping an eye out for the ones you post to the site and since I'm half way through this deployment now it may be just more beneficial for me to wait on a custom order. Thanks again for your time and thank you for all the information posted on your site. It's been extremely educational for me.
If you don’t see what you like on the site in the next two weeks, let me know and we can work up a quote.
Thanks again for your service,
We just got back (took a little side trip) and I wanted to drop you a line thanking you for the tour of your shop. Very impressive. I really enjoyed learning about your experiences with the internet and plan to follow through on your advice.
You know… as I was going down to visit you, I was a
little concerned I’d oversold myself on your knives. Once I saw
them, it was just the opposite. They are even better in person. It
is hard to explain. Even though I had seen them on your web and
looked at the measurements, I expected a more massive, heavy feel to
the knives. Instead I was treated to a refined, polished, mature,
highly develop product. Most knives I want to “grab” and see how
they function. But, yours I pick up with a sense of awe. It is like
picking up family heirloom china, certainly not because I’m afraid
of breaking it, but it is almost a sense of reverence and respect. I
want to turn it over in my hands and absorb it. You are an artist
and your knives your canvas.
The e-mail pages are hilarious and are my end of day giggle. Love your comments and the eloquence of your written words add a great deal of spice your website. Do you have elves make your knives at night? Either that or you are working on a 36 hr. day what with knife design and production, site maintenance, e-mail answering, writing, photography and all the rest you do for your business, Your site is truly a stupendous piece of work.
Dear Jay Fisher,
I'm writing this note to thank you for having your website up. It was so informative I felt as if I got an educational experience just reading through it. I'm just recently getting into knives and I appreciate your perspective. You are very thorough, finely detailed, and, for one reason or another, I believe your opinions are truthful. I have very little experience in knives: that is, very little knowledge of them.
I wasn't going to purchase a knife, or anything for that matter, without first learning about what I would be getting into. For that reason, you site has been most helpful. The only knife I have examined is the Navy Seal knife (SOG Knives E37 SEAL Pup Elite) because it sounded great with all the extensive testing the Navy has done to confirm the quality of the blade and handle... "tip breaking stress, blade breaking limit, sharpness, edge retention, handle twist off force, two week salt water immersion tests, gasoline and acetylene torch resistance, chopping, hammering, prying, penetration tests, cutting six different types of rope and line, plus an intense hands-on competition in the field." I know I have a lot more reading to do. But using that knife as a base, I did learn a few things, thanks to you: there is no military tactical folding knife; AUS 8 steel is nothing special, it's also known as 440B; the thinner the blade, the sharper the knife.
However, I'm still not sure about serrations. Is it a good thing or not. Would you rather have a knife with serrations at the end of the blade, near the handle, or no serrations at all. I understand that it shortens the cutting edge, it'll tear up the sheath, etc. But more importantly, what is the story with those semi-dull serrations that run along the top of the blade?
Black powder makes it looks fancier, but as you said, what it's
really doing is covering up the blemishes. I know in (briar) pipe
making this process is called rusticating. In this case, they are
using hardcased Black TiNi, whatever that means. I have a lot more
to learn. In any case, I simply wanted to thank you very much. I'll
be going through your site and the links you've mentioned more
I wish you well.
Thank you very much.
Hi, J. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about my site.
You've got a lot of good points from my site, and I appreciate that. This extensive "testing" can be done by anyone, anywhere, in any setting, and is in no way a field combat comparison of real world use of a knife. Most knives can satisfy basic requirements. For example, if a knife needs to withstand a breakage test, you simply leave it thick. It makes for a horrible cutting tool (chisel) but it will withstand "testing." Most of this stuff is just made up by whoever is selling the knife. After all, who is there to verify this testing and what is their experience, perspective, official qualifications, and reasoning?
About serrations: the decision is really one of personal preference. When I started making serrated knives for my military clients the one thing requested is that they actually cut, and if any of the teeth break off, they keep cutting. I developed several versions of serrations; they are thin at the tips, extremely sharp and can easily saw through oak or hickory hardwoods. Most of factory serrations are left thick (just like the blades) to save on machining expenses and time. They simply are ornamental. Any serrations on the spine of the knife are useless if meant for cutting unless it is first a double-edged knife. I've made those too, but they are highly specialized tools or artistic pieces. Could the "dull" serrations at the top of the blade you are referring to be filework, or jimping? If so, these are decorative or milled cuts to give some additional finger purchase on an otherwise slick spine, or are a decorative art form. For true blade serrations, they need to be incredibly sharp and aggressive, and a knife client needs to carefully consider if he'll need them or not. Few of my CQC (close quarters combat) knives have them, nearly all of my CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue) knives have them. I've heard of some of them used to saw through aircraft skins.
The black TiN you refer to is titanium nitride coating, used on machine tools for added abrasion resistance and added lubricity when high speed cutting on other metals with twist drills, milling cutters, reamers, etc. In knives and other such products, it's just ornamental.
Thanks for your inquiry,
He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor.
I can truly say I have never seen such beautiful work before. I came on your page looking for knife cases and yes, I realize you don't make them. But I wanted to take a moment to say that you have an incredible sense of artistry. As a custom furniture builder, I have a bit of an appreciation for what you deal with - but you are way beyond anything I ever accomplished. I now am a manufacturer of mass produced outrigger pads and don't miss the hard times of building furniture. Anyway, great job, excellent work.
I like the idea of bluing the blade to make it darker but I'm wondering, exactly how much more resistant to rusting will an O-1 steel blade be after Hot bluing and mirror polishing? After Hot bluing and mirror polishing an O-1 steel blade would it be as forgiving as a blade made from ATS-34? If I understand what I've read correctly D-2 and O-1 are the only steels you hot blue since 440C and ATS-34 are stainless steels? I just don't like the idea of spraying the blade down with silicon spray or some kind of oil/wax, what a mess. On long camping or hunting trips I might not have any of that stuff handy on top of that.
I have a folder made out of 154CM which has not rusted even after touching it with sweaty hands and forgetting to wipe it off for a day or so. Would a hot blued and polished O-1 steel blade be comparable to my 154CM folder in terms of "forgiveness"? When I first got it that sort of worried me. The box it came in warned me with big bold letters about rust because of a higher carbon content, but it hasn't happened.
I don’t know your real name because you neglected to include it, yet you felt the need to write me this lengthy commentary, so, with respect, I’ll respond. You are correct about bluing. Bluing is a passive oxidation process, meant to inhibit corrosion, not prevent it. Yes, blued blades are just like blued guns. They will corrode and rust if not properly cared for. That means keeping the blade dry, perhaps oiled or waxed, just as you would a fine firearm. In no way does this compare with stainless or stain resistant steels like 440C, ATS-34, 154CM, or D2
You’re wrong about my claim that I blue D2 and O1. I only blue O1 and low carbon steels. D2 has 12% chromium and is therefore stain resistant, but not a true stainless steel. Even the name “stainless” is a misnomer, because in order to be classified as a stainless steel, the steel has to have over 13% chromium. Is that a magic number where corrosion automatically stops? No, of course not, it is just a benchmark used in the professional machinists and ANSI specs to classify steels. ALL TOOL STEELS CAN RUST AND CORRODE, EVEN STAINLESS STEELS! If you leave orange juice or blood on 440C, it will flat out rust and pit. Store the same corroded knife in a damp leather sheath, and your stainless steel will be reduced to a rusty bar of junk. It’s all relative. There is no absolutely corrosion-proof tool steel, but there are austenitic stainless steels that come close (like 316 and 304), but these are not hardenable, and not tool steels.
You say you don’t like the idea of having to spray or wax your knife blade, are you the same way about your firearms? Do you just neglect your blued firearms and let them rust? And you claim, “what a mess.” You’ve obviously not used any of the modern preservative products, because there is no “mess.”
Back to your initial question. Bluing DOES inhibit corrosion, and mirror polishing helps. After 25 years of experience making knives, including for active duty combat military, and having made about two thousand knives professionally, I can say that the owners of these knives are quite happy with the blades. Yes, they know that they have to take care of them, and even during long excursions, the steels hold up very well. It’s all a matter of preference. Some guys even like the patina and used look that comes with a high carbon alloy tool steel like O-1.
Your folder made of 154CM is essentially the same steel as ATS-34 in alloying elements. Since it usually contains about 13% chromium (ATS-34 Contains slightly more chromium , about 14%, so it is a little more corrosion resistant), that is why they included the warnings about rust on your box. The comment shows, however, how illiterate the company is about their own product. It isn’t carbon that makes steel corrosion resistant; in modern tool steels it’s the amount of chromium and other alloying elements as well as hardness and exposure to corrosive environments that determine how a knife blade resists corrosion through the years.
An O-1 blade, by the way, cannot and does not compare to 154CM, they are completely different tool steels. O-1 is a high carbon, high tungsten-vanadium alloy tool steel, and its main benefits are: ease of sharpening in the field, capable of a razor-keen aggressive edge, low initial cost, uniform hardenability with repeated tempering options, ease of machining, low overall cost, and ability to be …. Hot blued.
My name is Jay Fisher
P.S. high chromium stainless steels can be blued for color effect. The process is expensive and complicated, and few professional users or collectors are interested in it.
Mr. Jay Fisher,
I really love all that you do and what you have put into your website. I am not asking for anything nor have questions for you. I just want to say "THANK YOU!" and that I highly admire your skills, knives, and information that you have put out there. I recently starting knife making (as a new hobby), and came upon your web page as part of my research. I know my opinion doesn't mean much, but I see you are the benchmark and gold standard of the field. I just want to thank you for all of your information on your website. I have spent hours reading and admiring your artistry and craftsmanship. Someday, I would love to own one of your pieces. Thanks again for everything (even the emails page, for a laugh).
No response requested. I hope you have read to this point to know that people appreciate you for you, as well as your standards and dedication of your trade.
Thank you and God Bless,
I am a novice knife maker who was losing heart a little bit as I am in a very small town and there is nobody within 400kms to help. I have spend the last two days glued to your site I think I have read every word you have written. I hope you don’t mind but I took a couple of your pictures as motivation to put up in my shop and also use as screen savers.
Your work is mind blowing, I was a bit skeptical about the Gemstone handles at first but as I saw more pictures you really made a convert out of me.
Thank you for the inspiration I will be visiting your site often
Queenstown, New Zealand
P.S. I just saw your “Cattleman” Holy crap………….. that is the most beautiful knife I have ever seen.
That was an art piece, but the same cattleman got the working model, too. He’s castrated hundreds of animals before he sent it back for sharpening. A few passes on the stone and it was just like a razor again!
Here’s the pic of the working model.
I am just starting out in knifemaking, and I would just like to say thanks for the inspiration. Every knifemaker should visit your site to see what real craftsmanship and damn good knives look like.
How old do you think a person should be before getting
then a knife, dagger, or sword?
Hello, C. Thanks for writing.
I think it would depend on the person's parents and their upbringing.
Some parents realize they have responsible children, and to have a tool which
can be dangerous requires great care. I guess a good answer would be when they
are old enough to know how to use a sharp kitchen knife.
At the beginning I want to apologize, I will not buy any of yours knife at this time( and I'm not felling well with that, believe me).
I writing to you with thank you. You create so beautiful masterpieces that I never have seen. Due all my 19 years on this world I couldn't even imagine weapons with that kind of grace. Thank you for all your kindness in showing it to me:) I hope that I will be one of your costumer in future:)
Regards from Poland
P.S I'm sorry for every grammar and lingual errors in letter.
I just wanted to tell you that your work is quite exceptional. I found your site when I was doing a search for embellished knives. I am just learning to engrave and carve and it is always interesting to see what others are doing along those lines. My husband makes knives occasionally and we enjoy the beauty of a well made blade.
I started reading your first page of funny emails you posted and decided after reading the first page I should stop as I was laughing too much.
Your knives are quite beautiful and I really like the engraving you do. Not everyone likes the 'flowers and scrolls' and that doesn't always fit the weapon anyway.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I will use your pictures as inspiration to do my own kind of work. Thanks for sharing your work.
I came across your website and I will add my
praises to those of others. I've looked around and it has given me much
insight into the work, time, and effort that goes into making a true
custom knife. I hope to have a knife made by you in the for-see-able
future. I have looked at ordering a knife and have only a
few things of how I want my knife to look like set in stone. Just from
looking at the many pictures on your site has really turned me to
having a knife made by you.
W.H. is a future client, and I look forward to making a knife for him!
I looked over your website and read your biography and you are an inspiration that I understand. Having gunsmithed in the past specializing in refinishing and sporterizing, I appreciate what you do. Now that I discovered knife making about five years ago, I can't get enough. Your work is simply awesome.
Every now and then, I get a letter that moves me. It is one of the reasons I'm so hard on factories and other knife makers about their work. It disturbs me greatly to know that our men and women are not carrying the best knives into battle that this country is capable of producing. Here's one of those letters and my response.
I'm currently deployed to Iraq and found that a back up is a must have. I work in closely with the local population and my weapon at time's cannot be used due to distance or situation. I have a fainbrain-Applegate full size fighting knife now. I read your web page and you seem to know what's going on with knifes and sheaths. The problem I have is: I don’t have the proper sheath. I need a combat locking sheath like in your pictures, so I can access my knife in a split second. The best and most concealed place while in IBA is the small of my back. Mounting the knife horizontal on my belt seems the best. If you have any ideas on what to do or a different path to take please let me know.
Ali AB, Iraq
Hello, TSgt L. Thanks for writing. And thank you for your service to our country.
Your letter hit me hard. It is truly sad that manufacturers and makers of knives do not carefully consider the sheath when making and selling their knives, and do not consider the lives that may be at stake because they do not supply an adequate or useful sheath. All I can do is not make that mistake on my own knives.
I’m sorry that I can not make a sheath for your knife. My locking and combat grade sheaths are constructed with the knife, in concert, so that components like thumb rises, ricasso ramps, edge clearances, and mounting variations must happen in the construction of the knife, so that a workable locking sheath can be designed around the knife, with the knife. Each individual sheath can only fit a specific knife. Unfortunately, I cannot build a sheath around a factory knife or other maker’s knife, as they don’t build the knife with the components and geometry that will allow a locking sheath to work. Beyond that, I get so many requests to correct inadequate sheath work that I would be out of the knife making business, and into the sheath making business only. Even if I did take on that type of work, it would require the knife in my hands while you would be left in the field without your primary edged weapon.
I do make an extremely good combat knife, and can make it to your specifications, to fit a specifically designed locking combat sheath of my own construction. I know my work is not cheap, but I’ve got one of the best track records of useful and durable combat and tactical knives and sheaths in the business.
I know this does not help you at the moment. In the chance that they might be of help, I would contact the company or maker who made the knife and ask them to outfit their knife with a proper sheath. Please be brutally honest in their shortcomings of the sheath they supply for their knife, because it is your life and other lives at stake.
Barring that, you may have to do what I’ve heard of other
soldiers doing in the field: using found parts, moleskin, leather
bindings, bent metal, screws and other parts to make their sheaths
work. I’m terribly sorry I could be of no further help.
I served my apprenticeship as a tool maker (7yrs) which included a year or two of Metallurgy,
but after 20yrs I believe I know craftsmanship when I see it .
The quality of your production is rarely seen these day and way beyond what I
have seen produced in the UK, it’s the combination of the design and finish
that I haven’t seen.. I hasten to add that there are some very good cutlers but
the designs are limited .. even made a couple myself but don’t have the “eye”
for it. I don’t see it as flattery more a positive critique based on observation...
just don’t put the price up as a result!!
I don’t expect that you will be able to respond to me as I am currently not looking to purchase one of your knives, though if I had the money, I would do so in a heartbeat.
I just wanted to drop you a line very quickly and say that as an aspiring knife builder myself (yes, unfortunately it’s only a hobby for me), I think that you have made some of the most exquisite and beautiful pieces of art that I have ever had the honor to look at. I truly hope that one day, I can have as much talent in the art of knife and sword building as you have in just one of your pinky fingers. The pieces you have on your site are absolutely breathtaking.
Thanks for doing what you do and I hope that you continue to grace the world with your talents for many decades to come. God has truly given you a wonderful gift.
With much respect and admiration,
Hi, M. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your very kind words.
Welcome to the world of knife making. I pray that good things happen to you in your endeavors, and you get as much enjoyment and fulfillment from knives as I have over the years.
Thank you, thank you! Your website is the most informative & easy to understand & set up to be user friendly. I was just surfing to find information to purchase skinning knives for my husband and me and found myself staying up late to learn more about handles, blades, steel types, uses, etc. There is much more to a knife than I thought, and you make it interesting.
Any suggestions for a couple of farmers? We put down & field dress our own pigs & steers. We use drop point B*** knives and I find myself constantly walking back to the table to sharpen them during the process - we usually take care of 2 pigs at one time. Would like good quality, don't mind sharpening a couple times, need a handle for my husband that is easy to hold onto - he has arthritis & his grip is not always good.
Would appreciate any comments or suggestions from you.
Thank you again for your awesome website - you have sparked a new interest for me.
Hello, K. Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words about my site and work. K., there are several reasons that a knife will not hold an edge throughout the tasks you describe. The first and most predominant issue is usually the blade grind. The blade at and just behind the cutting edge should be thin, particularly with skinning, fleshing, and butchering knives. This will allow a very low edge face angle when sharpening, and thus, a very keen edge. Factory knives simply are not ground thin enough, because it takes a lot of skill and careful practice at the grinder to do this. Factory knives are quickly and lightly ground, quickly machine sharpened, and sent out the door. They are built with the expectation of one to two seasons of use and then they hope you’ll purchase another. They cannot be successfully and continually resharpened without first correcting the thick blade geometry.
Another concern is the steel. B*** makes most of their knives with 420 stainless steel. This is a very poor, cheap, and inferior knife steel, no matter what their web site claims. It does NOT have excellent wear resistance; it has poor wear resistance. This is due to a lower chromium content, so the very hard and wear resistant chromium carbide particles simply are not present. It cannot compare to many of the finer stainless tool steels like 440C, ATS-34, or even D2. It is the same steel used in cheap kitchen knives from China, so that should tell you a lot. The reason that they use it is probably because it is very inexpensive, and can be stamped out of sheet with a die press, so high production runs of blades are less expensive to produce. Compare this to the steels I just listed, which have to be sawn out individually with high cobalt, high alloy saw blades. For the user (you), this translates to a cutting edge that simply does not last due to low wear resistance.
A third concern is heat treating. How the blade is heat treated often remains unknown, and undisclosed to the customer. Is the blade the proper hardness? Unless it’s tested on a scientific, calibrated hardness penetration tester, you can’t know.
Okay, I’m sure you get the picture.
What I would suggest depends on what your specific needs are. If you want a blade that can dress 3 or more pigs without sharpening, you’ll have several choices that should be able to perform. If you’re after the ultimate in wear resistance, D2 or CPMS90V are hard to beat. These steels will maintain an edge for a very long time, but when they do need sharpening, usually a diamond hone is required. If you need a tougher, thinner blade, ATS-34 or CPM154CM can be ground very thin and are less brittle. There are others, of course. I remember many years ago, a professional elk hunting outfitter had me make him a skinning/field dressing knife from 440C. He had a B*** knife that he had to sharpen three times to get through a single elk. With the 440C blade, properly ground, heat treated, and finished, he dressed three elk without ever touching the blade…
For a custom handle for your husband, it sounds like he’ll need to get an idea of what shape works for him. For instance, can he grip a shovel handle easily, or does it need to be larger? How about the size of a pickaxe? This customization would only be available through a custom maker.
For your consideration of my work, a medium sized drop point (4” long blade) in bead blasted or satin finished 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, and hardwood or manmade material handle with a border tooled leather sheath would start at $1245.00 and go up from there depending on pattern design, materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories. Currently, my sole authorship knives are quoting a four year delivery period due to a large queue and high interest, but I have several alternate programs in the studio that can deliver a knife in months instead of years.
Please let me know if my work is within your scope of interest. If not, please do find a custom maker who can get you the very knife or knives you need for your important tasks!
I received the "Kid" on Thursday afternoon ... I was stunned by the quality of the knife. I showed the knife to several co-workers who were also extremely impressed. The hook, I was informed, should be used for opening a deer or large fish up. Your web site cannot show the quality or feel that your knives have. Thank you for finishing the knife and getting it to me on time. It will make the trip with me!
P.S. Please make the "Hercules" any way you want! Whatever etching you choose will be fine. I trust your judgment completely!
Would you please send me a brochure/catalog? Thank you in advance!
I do have one quick question: If someone wanted to purchase custom knives for investment purposes, is it a better idea to commission these knives rather than buy from the maker's stock? You are by far my favorite knife maker. Have been for years. I think your philosophy and endorsement of gemstone handles makes perfect sense.
Hello, Aaron. Thanks for writing. Thanks also for your kind words about my work.
To answer your question, it makes no difference from the standpoint of investment value and appreciation of a collector's knife whether the knife was custom made or purchased from the maker's inventory. You'll get the lowest price from the maker either way, because as soon as the knife goes to a dealer or a collector, the price goes up.
The differences are that by ordering a custom work, you'll get exactly the knife you want, but if you see one you want in inventory, the big advantage is that you don't have to wait for delivery. For example, right now, my orders are running 9 months to a year. Several steady clients have put in extra orders because they believe my order period may be two years soon, and that can be a long time to wait for a knife.
In addition to the brochure, I'm sending you my CDROM catalog of my work, no
charge. It's a full CD with over a thousand pics of my work. Let me know what
you think of it.
From a military address:
This email is not to inquire about purchasing one of your knives but to ask your permission, if needed, with regards to your knife sheaths. I know that you are extremely busy so I will try to make this as short as possible whilst making my question clear.
I have, within the last year, begun leather crafting and started by making a couple of sheaths for some fixed blades. I decided this because of the garbage canvas or cheap leather sheaths that come with them so I did a lot of research on the net, read blogs, tutorials, and watched video how to's all just to be able to have a well built handmade real leather sheath. After finishing two, a pocket type and a stacked leather type and showing it to some of the guys at work I have now been getting requests to replace either worn leather or canvas sheaths, with different carrying options. I have really learned a lot and when I came across your site doing a search for "custom leather sheaths" I could not believe my eyes at your designs, not just of the sheaths but of the knives as well. The lines, curves and how everything flows together even how the curves of the knife are incorporated into the sheath. Absolutely beautiful! I can only hope that eventually my work will be close to the quality of yours. Since seeing your sheath designs I really want to get more into carving, and exotic inlays, and thus bringing me to my question:
I want to make my own designs/patterns of sheaths but yours bring a lot of inspiration and if I end up with a clientele of people that ask for sheaths made for knives they already have is your permission needed to take say a retaining strap design from say your ISHI and incorporate it into a standard stacked leather sheath just for a different effect? I did tread through your Copyright page and you mostly covered your knives there. I do not make knives I don't intend to, I like working with leather, it's almost like therapy cutting out lines, choosing stamps then stamping, figuring out how to build a sheath around a knife. This is why I would like to respectfully request your permission to use your patterns to hopefully inspire designs and patterns( as far as tooling, colors curves) in my own work. I want to make it completely clear that in no way, shape, or form am I asking to copy or duplicate any of your sheaths. Again, your work is absolutely incredible I hope that one day I could be a customer of yours.
Respectfully, Philip J. Walker
Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words. Philip, thanks most for your service and sacrifice for the people of our country. Philip, the retention methods of the knife sheath designs are not copyrightable; they've existed in public form for decades, some for millennia. Since the actual shapes of the sheaths are distinct to each knife pattern, it is not likely your sheaths can copy mine, since you will be making designs for unique knives. However, if you would like to publicly credit me for inspiration, I would be greatly honored by that! I'd be honored if you allow me to post your email as well; the conversation of knife sheath design is an important one.
Ideas themselves are not intellectual property, so thanks for your willingness to spread the idea of fine knife sheaths around; the world of knives certainly needs it! Judging from the amount of inquiries and interest I get about sheaths, if you make a good, serviceable, practical, and high quality product, you will do well.
Thanks again, and the best of luck in all your endeavors.
Just found your website – New item on my bucket list – to one day have you create a knife for me!
Beautiful knives, website and very informative; I just spent the last couple of hours (maybe it was more like 4 hours) reading some of the most straight forward and insightful knowledge on knives. My head is spinning !
Wow and wow – thanks for all of the hard work on creating your website and one day . . . a knife of yours will be mine!
I just stumbled upon your website while looking at lapidary stuff. what beautiful knives! I wish I could learn from you. I'm in Pennsylvania, though. just wanted to say hello. Jim Y.
I frequently receive emails that typically cross guilds, in this case, the area of knife making and the area of lapidary. The fusion of the two has created a lot of interest over the years in both fields.
Too many captains may steer a boat up a mountainside.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I did write to you some time ago... your site is truly amazing. I don't know how you do it.
I have just read the e-mails received section. Thank goodness my e-mail wasn't there. Very funny.
I aspire to make knives, but suffer no delusions as to my level of competency. Your work will always be an inspiration to me, and I'm sure, to many already well established knife makers.
Your web site is like an incredible reference work. Thank you for all the effort you have put into it. I hope that someday I might purchase one of your knives.
Take care, and thanks again.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I happened on your website today and have been enthralled with it for 4 hours now. I feel I have to write and tell you how beautiful I think your work is.
It is wonderful that you can produce such extraordinary knives. Not to mention your website, swords, sheaths, and novels too? You must never sleep! The integration of steel, minerals, and wood is fantastic. I found myself staring at some of the gemstone handles gently turning into the mirror finish of the steel. Wow!
You are a credit to this country and to artists everywhere. I have never seen such wonderful creations. Sorry to gush and I'm sure you know all this but I needed to compliment you and encourage you. Please keep your vision and continue to share these wonderful products with the world. No need to respond to this if you haven't the time.
Please, get some sleep!
With much respect and admiration,
My name is Joseph M. I am 24 yrs old and have always enjoyed the art of creation since I was a young boy. I've always been interested in the beauty high polished rock and minerals, metals, and even glass. But lately I've been really involved in the creation of knives, and has developed as my dream to start a knife business. I am currently taking scrap metal from an arbor shop I work at to make knives. I'd like to thank you most of all for the freedom of your work to the public and info you've provided on your website for all the knife hounds out there. you've been a great inspiration to the beginning of my new legacy in knife making. So to get to what I've been waiting ask you is, as a beginner in knife making, I was hoping you could spare me any of your knowledge as to how I could get started cheap. At the moment all I have is a 4 1/2" right angle grinder and a 16" bench grinder. What do I need? I'd also really appreciate it if you could send me your brochure.
--your distant student
Thanks for your kind words about my work, and welcome to knife making. The first thing I’d suggest is to invest in some good books on knife making, and there are several good texts out there. That way, you’ll get a clear idea of what it takes, and you can develop a budget for tools. The tools, knowledge, and time are the most important things. I started out making knives with just a hand grinder and sandpaper, but it became clear that in order to produce finer works, a belt grinder was a requirement. If I had to start all over, the belt grinder would be my first consideration and investment.
I just stumbled across your website and was blown away. I have been in leather supply for over 30 years and have seen an incredible amount of great leatherwork and many talented people. Your knife sheaths are the most beautiful I've ever seen. It is not just the quality of the leatherwork but the incorporation of the art that is stunning. I especially like the way you make the knife and the sheath work as a unit in pieces like the Dorado, Raptor, and Izanami sheaths. Most people see a custom sheath as one just made to fit a particular knife. In your case it is not only the fit of the knife but matching the colors and lines of the knife to create an aesthetic that I've never seen in a sheath before.
Your love and dedication to all the art and craft that goes into your work is apparent. Congratulations for your level of accomplishment.
An email that was flagged of "High Importance" and titled "I hope I have been helpful."
There is an error you will want to correct on your tactical knife.
"Argiope" Fine Combat, Tactical Knife
Size: Knife: Length overall: 13.0" (33.0 cm), Blade Length: 8.25" (20.9 cm), Thickness: .243" (6.2 mm)
Weight: Knife: 16.0 oz. Sheath: 11 oz.
Blade:O-1 Tungsten-Vanadium Alloy Steel, Hardened and Tempered to Rockwell C59, mirror finished, hot blued
My Timken Practical Data for Metallurgists has the following composition
of O1 tool steel.
C (Carbon) .94%, Si (Silicon) .30% , Mn (Manganese)1.20%, W (tungsten) .50%, Cr (Cromium) .50%
It does not contain Vanadium according to this analysis.
Very Truly Yours,
W., not all tool steels by all manufacturers are the same. The O-1 I use has .2% vanadium. There
are 8 (EIGHT) types of Oil hardening tool steels recognized by AISI. The type I use is
generally classified as a “Low
Manganese” oil hardening tungsten-vanadium tool steel, but specifically classified by the
manufacturer as “Tungsten-Vanadium Tool Steel.” Some of the
various types of Oil hardening tool steels do not even
Nominal Analysis (AISI 01)
I hope this clears it up for you. While I won’t go into these details on my site or through emails, I am putting them in my upcoming book.
Upon hearing about being named as the best living knife maker in 2007 Best of the West:
I am glad to hear about the new honor, Jay. I agree with them. I have used the Muleshoe for some time now and it still looks and cuts as if it were brand new. Congratulations! I don't need to tell you to keep up the good work. I know that you will.
Whoever plays with cats must not fear their claws.
I'm looking for a very strong gravity knife, and or stiletto type. I had one years ago and it broke from pretending it was a throwing knife. It saved me once from being mugged, and being im working late nite shifts again well. Any ideas cost material etc. would be appreciated. I'd prefer your strongest blade and handle combination coupled with lightweight strength.
I do make fine folding knives, some unusual sliding blades, and other proprietary mechanism knives. There are several points to consider.
The term "strong" referring to a folder is tenuous at best. No matter how a folder is made, it has that inherent weak point: the pivot. Many attempts throughout history have been made to strengthen that focal point, yet no one can get around the fact that the most stressed part of the entire knife (the junction of the blade and handle) is exactly where we put that little axle to rotate it. Just look at fixed blade knives. They have heavy bolsters right where that pivot is...
It's easy to see now why so many of my military clients have insisted on full tang knives. Some even require the strength to "shove it in a rock and stand on it for an hour or two if needed."
If you are set on a folder though, I do make them. They usually come with
close tolerance polished and hardened stainless steel bushings,
replaceable springs, adjustable spring and lock tension. They break completely down
for maintenance/cleaning with SS machine screws. They start at about $650.
I don't know what your budget is for this knife, but I have over 160
different styles. Fixed blades start at $250, and quite a few of these
are in the hands of military, law enforcement, and civilians who trust their
lives to them.
I received Gemini today. It's incredibly beautiful! The pictures didn't do it justice at all. The file work is impeccable, the style of the blade is perfectly curved, and the Siberian jade handle is shockingly green. The knife seems to have been made for my hand. I am pleased I made the decision to buy it. It will become an heirloom to be passed down for generations. Thanks for all your fine work.
Just one more question if you don't mind answering being that I am 19 years
old, I am in search of a career but something that I am interested in and well I
Love Knives! can never ever get enough of them! Well my question is this, as a
custom knife maker Jay, Is knife making a rewarding career and if so how would I
go about pursuing it? thank you for your time.
What I often suggest is that young people try as many things as they can find that interest them, and one will survive, not because it’s productive, but because it satisfies an internal interest and keeps going within you. This is what I did; you can see it in my bio on my site. For me, knife making fit well, but I only knew that for sure after years of making. Other interests will always be with you, but some will stand out. Try every one that comes along, and remember that an education in any field will help you in a chosen one. For knife making in particular, there is no specific, accredited course or study format. It is actually a fairly rare tradecraft. The only one that may come close is jeweler or metals arts, which are both taught in universities.
I am an amateur garage knife maker. I have a simple shop, with a drill press, grinders, belt sanders, saws, propane and map torches, etc.
I have only made a few knives, and I have learned that you have to practice, practice, practice. I am amazed out how much steel I can go through to get what I want. The good part is the ones I have made for friends have been well received, as was one when an older friend gave me a knife he had made when he was young (was a wedding gift to me). I have been sitting at the computer reading your site for about 4 hours now. I want to thank you for the enormous amount of information, ideas, encouragement, and education that your site provides. Well, back to more reading. Bye the way, don’t change a thing to your site.
Thank you for your craftsmanship and your art,
I receive this type of email frequently, and I appreciate it. When I started making knives, there was no internet, no source of knowledge or information about this business and art apart from the few publications available, and some magazines that offered limited articles. Nowadays, the internet poses another set of problems, and that is misinformation and information overload. That is one of the reasons I've made the site so comprehensive; to offer a service based on my experience not only to my clients, but also to my tradecraft and industry.
Any serious knife combatant or collector who hasn't experienced Jay's quality really doesn't know how good a knife can be. It's beyond precision, the finest materials, or even art. Jay has a quality that is unique in the world: a sense for perfection in application, as well as beauty. When you feel the balance, you'll never want to go back to any other, but when you see the look, you'll want to put it in a jewel case! What a great conundrum.
--Tom and Joe, your www.BladeCombat.com team.
Thanks Jay. We all really appreciated that you
took time out of your day, as busy as you are, to let us come by
and check everything out. It was very impressive to see all the
work, skill and care that goes into the knives you produce. I
also wanted to express thanks for being so supportive toward
what were trying to do, and more so, the military in general. We
all thought that was really nice. I'm really excited about this
knife, just the plastic cut out today was neat, I cant wait to
see the finished product.
Once again thanks,
I came to your website accidentally, and I was AMAZED! You truly are an Artist, your knives are peaces of art, they are magnificent !!!
I hope soon, I'll be able to afford one of them.
Your family is lovely.
Keep on good work.
All the best from Croatia.
Postman just arrived ;)
My comments before were exactly right, this is a beautiful knife! Thank you for job very well done, hopefully we do business again.
As I spend more and more time in the water and trying to hack my way out ouf
the mess my dog gets me into I find I need a simple knife. My Ernie Emerson (no
not Bench made) is great for a pocket knife. My Randy Martin is a spectacular
neck knife but I need something affordable that can clear rigging, fishing line
and nets on my rescue dives. I need a working knife that will take a licking and
keep on ticking. I also can use a auto knife as MicroTech’s Chameleons are
dangerous (to my hands and my BDU’’s and the HALO’’s just don’t hold up. The
commercial dive knives just don’t cut the mustard. Simplicity pleas with maybe
"That other’s may live" will do.
It sounds like you've covered all your bases, and you're looking for your
number one tool. If you've perused my site, you've seen that I make quite a few,
in quite a range for serious users as well as collectors.
Two particular models come to mind. I make an Instructor's knife for the USAF Pararescue School in ABQ. It is based on the PJLT frame: a clean, simple, no frills model with a tough ATS-34 bead-blasted blade, nickel-silver -or- 304 stainless steel bolsters, linen reinforced micarta handle, in a kydex and aluminum sheath. These models start at $250 for the N-S fittings, and go up from there. I can email you a nice jpeg picture of this knife, if you'd like.
If you are interested in the -ULTIMATE- dive-rescue knife, the full sized Pararescue is the ticket. This is one of the finest, toughest knives I make, and the feedback from military users is excellent. It is a heavy, tough, thoroughly waterproof model of 440C, 304 stainless bolsters, no filework to hold salt or debris, no milling under the full tang that could possibly trap water. It comes in a positive-locking sheath made of Kydex, Aluminum, and stainless steel. It is on the "Current Knives for Sale" page of my web site, look for the Ivory micarta handle.
Now, if you don't see what you like available, or if you have a specific budget in mind, I'll work with you. You might require aggressive rip teeth, a skeletonized handle, or special fitting requirements. I can customize, etch your name/unit logo/military flash permanently on the blade. I guarantee my workmanship for my lifetime. Who could ask for more?
Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day, give him a hoe.
I have a buddy of mine he will be going to Iraq, I would like to buy him one of you knife's to take with him as a show of friendship and support with my company logo engraved in it but I can only afford $1,000 to spend and I like your sheath. thank you for you weapons and time. L.
Hi, L. Thanks for writing. Please thank your buddy for his service
to our country.
The budget is no problem, but right now, new orders are taking 24 – 30 months, due to large amount of orders. Occasionally, I have a knife come up on my “knives for sale” page, and they’re snatched up pretty quickly, but keep an eye on the web site.
Let me know about the time frame,
This is always tough for me. I do wish I could make the knives faster, offer more available to clients who have a more immediate need at a sooner time. Unfortunately, I can't recommend other sources, as there are so few out there that are really offering a high quality combat tactical knife.
I did receive the knife and have been so busy showing it off to many of my friends that I neglected to send you an e-mail. I love the knife and agate handle. As always, you have created something I will cherish. You are the greatest.
Good afternoon, Jay. Just wanted to drop a quick note, and
thank you for putting up an awesome, and informative site. I am an
aspiring knife maker, and all the photos, and information have been
inspiring. Thanks again for the great site, and keep up the amazing
Thanks a lot; I look forward to seeing some of your knives one day!
The knife arrived today safe and sound. It is far more amazing in person than I could have imagined. My challenge now is to actually deploy such a work of art in the field (the first scuffs will be the hardest, after that it should get easier). I have never owned anything like this, thank you. I know it will be a great companion for many, many years.
Thank you again for all your help and patience with my questions.
Forum post by Jay. This was a response to complaints that big time knife makers and blade masters do not generally post on bulletin boards or forums on the internet.
In response to your posting on May 11, I'm one of those "blade masters" who used to post on (Name withheld) Forums for a while and don't anymore. Yes, I'm very successful, and extremely busy, but still take a few minutes every now and then to browse the forums.
I don't post because there are too many guys asking ridiculous questions and a lot of misinformation floating around. It's a waste of time to answer questions and argue with ignorance, no matter your dedication to the trade.
I am a professional, having supported myself completely with my knives and weapons for many years. The word "professional" is extremely important, my international clients and military depend on that attitude and perspective. Unfortunately, this is lacking in most of the commentary.
I understand how knife making starts: from an interest, to a hobby, to a craft, and ultimately art, but most makers are stuck in the first two categories. Numerous attempts have been made over the years to "Professionalize" our trade, but have failed in the light of bloated egos, flippant attitudes, and outright greed. I'd love to discuss some of THOSE stories...
I want you to know we are out here, blending science with art, on the cutting edge of technology and business, and available for any conversation you wish to initiate.
Interestingly, they were not interested in my comments. Who wants to hear from someone who really is a professional anyway? Professional makers don't understand or relate with hobbyists or beginners because we have our heads in the clouds, not the reality of knife making... right?
Hey. It's like squeezing wine from a snake.
I've recently began collecting medieval swords knives daggers, etc. Til now I was pleased , but I noticed my pieces lacked quality, being from a renaissance festival or what have you. Specifically I'm interested in a gravity knife with an English or Scottish feel to it. One that attaches to the fore arm. Glancing over the work I've seen of you, quality is something you take seriously. Unfortunately, e-mails aren't something I check daily but I will at some point reply or you could call my MI. based cell phone at (deleted). My name is Jeremy. Thank you for your time
Hi, Jeremy; thanks for writing.
I’m sorry, it is against the law in our state for me to make gravity knives, butterfly knives, or automatic opening knives.
Good luck on your search.
My apologies Mr. Fisher. If I knew it was illegal I would not have asked you your services. In the future I'll research what I try and add to my collection. All the same, at some point I would like to have your work in my collection. Thank you for your reply
This question comes up from time to time, and the laws governing manufacture (or making) of knives vary from state to state. Please check your local laws regarding not only making of the knife, but also carrying or shipping of the knife to your location.
I just want to thank you for writing an excellent treatise on knives. I mostly deal with Nihonto (Japanese swords) these days, but still have a great Damascus knife collection. I'll be looking into buying one from you sometime soon.
Ken Goldstein, Ph.D., P.E.
President, Japanese Sword Society of Hawaii
My name is Nick R., and I'm writing you to give some appreciation. I don't expect a reply, as I'm not yet a vying customer (though one day I might be) but I'd like to drop you this email anyway.
I'm a student in Texas who has always had an interest in knives and tools; they've always fascinated me and I wished we had more places for their use in our daily lives. Which I suppose is to say that I wish MY daily life had more opportunities for them. I Used to adore camping as a kid when my parents took us out, it's always thrilled me to live out in the rough wild, though sadly we never lived OFF the land. In the last 5 years or more I've developed an increasing interest in the outdoors and recreational 'outdoorsmanship' or 'bushcraft,' and just recently while studying ancient humans and our descendants I've found that I am incredibly interested in lithics- stone tools.
All that being said, the point of this email though is to tell you that you have got an amazing set of skills Jay. I've spent the better part of a week pouring over each page and all that you have to offer in the ways of thoughtful explanation. I've looked up knives before, and used to collect decorational swords, but I have to say there is nothing like seeing a custom, real knife. Something that serves a purpose, not just a decorational piece of metal. You're work has given me a lot of inspiration, I can even say that I've let it overshadow keeping up with my current courses and readings! hahaha. You do some fantastic work Jay, and I've got this little group of personal Heroes. The little niche I'm speaking of currently houses Ray Mears and Les Stroud and of course the ideas I've seen from other cultures and the means and methods they use to live in the world they do. Now after reviewing your materials, photos, writings, and customer testimonies you now stand with Les and Ray as my outdoor heroes.
Thank you Jay, for your inspiring craftsman ship and beautiful works of function and art. I hope to one day purchase a few knives from you, along with having a specialty all-around utility knife made for my future outdoor escapades. Take care, and all the best for your work and family.
May you have pleasant days and long nights,
Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about my work. It would be an honor to make you a knife (or two) in the future, so study hard and be successful!
I received it Sat. It is a magnificent piece of workmanship. The engraving on the blade is fantastic. The creative talons of ivory are a unique touch. The stonework is such as I have never seen. Very original. Thanks so much. It is sharp too! It must be very gratifying to be able to make a living from a craft you love..Thinking about another idea for a working knife…I’ll let you know.
["signature" graphic included with this email submission]
I was just wondering what it would cost for a dagger and a stand for it that
was completely custom? I don't know much about daggers, but am looking at
getting one for symbolic purposes. If I presented an artisit design, could you
do it? Is your skill level able to pull off something from paper?
Thanks in advance,
Great website and very informative. I would consider a resign though
for display. The average person wouldn't have strained so much to
find what they are looking for on the site. The content is good.
Hello, S. Thanks for writing.
The price of an art dagger completely depends on the components of the dagger. Also, the finish must be considered, and embellishment, tooling, stand, case, or sheath. There are a lot of options when one chooses a complete custom knife. You can read about these individually on my Custom knife Quote and order page here. I can and do work with clients’ designs, but because this entails a lot of drawing, tuning, consideration for geometry, steel types, and general design work, it still requires the design deposit. You can read about the details of the design fee here.
Thank you for your comments about my site. The site is complex; it’s a very complex field of artistry that I’m in. I’m not worried about the average person finding their way through my site, my site is geared toward knife aficionados and professionals, and they are very happy with the content and layout. Ah, if this field were only simple enough to have a simple site, with a couple pictures, and about three prices for knives… (smile)
May I be so bold as to offer you some advice, in kind? When you
include your graphic with your email, nearly every firewall and
modern email program stops your email cold, because of the
possibility of the graphic containing malicious code. I had to
retrieve your email from beyond my firewall. I almost deleted
it… just a head’s up.
Thanks for your interest, and I’d love to see your design.
I've recently began collecting medieval swords knives daggers, etc. Til now I was pleased , but I noticed my pieces lacked quality, being from a renaissance festival or what have you. Specifically I'm interested in a gravity knife with an English or Scottish feel to it. One that attaches to the fore arm.
Glancing over the work I've seen of you, quality is something you take seriously. Thank you for your time
Hi, J.; thanks for writing.
I’m sorry, it is against the law in our state for me to make gravity knives, butterfly knives, or automatic opening knives.
Good luck on your search.
Even my wife was awed! "Wow..." was what came out in a whisper! What a gorgeous knife, but clearly meant for its intended pupose. There is no doubt that P. will treasure it both for its beauty and for its utility.
Thanks again for everything!
I would like know the availability and price of this knife.
USAF Pararescue "The Kid."
I don't like to assume, Will it be suitable for Ocean diving?
I make "The Kid" in various forms. The simplest is bead blasted 440C
Stainless steel with Nickel silver bolsters and bead blasted micarta handle with
a clip type kydex sheath. It costs $245.00
"The Kid" pictured on my website under "Military and Pararescue" knives is the full blown model, featuring mirror polished 440C stainless with fuller (blood groove), 304 stainless steel fittings, Gemstone handle, double locking gravity hook blade (all stainless steel machined components with close tolerances) and a Locking stainless, kydex and aluminum sheath. It is "marine grade" salt water proof and costs $1200.00
There are variations between the two. Take a look at the fourth pic on my "Current Knives for Sale" page. This knife falls between those listed above. It is the only one I have available now, and can be custom engraved for personalization.
Currently, I have a backorder list from 4 to 6 months long. I would be happy to make you any knife of your choosing, just let me know!
Please note: this is an old email, and the prices quoted are no where near current! These knives are quoting three or more times that currently. This is a great testament to the appreciating value of fine custom and handmade knives.
With time and patience, even the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.
Hello Mr. Fisher-
I was just wondering if you sell just knife blanks- If so- I would be interested in 2 different ones. By the way- you do some of the most outstanding hand file & serration work I have seen to date. It only shows how far I have practice & learn.
Hi, J.. Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words.
I’m sorry; I don’t make blanks to sell, and can’t really refer anyone who does. Please try to make your own; it will be a great experience for you, and you’ll make them just the way you want!
Thanks and good luck,
I didn’t think you would respond- you are a stand up fellow- ( not to many left ) hope to get your book
when avail. & besides the fact of not being able to afford such work horses- you are the other reason I
got into making knives. I was never aware what beauty could become of a combat tool- but as soon as
I saw your work- it is all I do in spare time beside the kids & dog. Well I’m sure you tire of peoples
glorification- But Dammit Man- unbelievable. I bet my collection of various files is ridiculous – I
don’t see how you come up with some of them-
To cut the propaganda short – I haven’t bought for neither my son nor myself (not even as x-mas for my older brother “the Hunter”) a company made / store bought knife in 5 years aft seeing your beauties. Bit more crude & not as factory looking but my brother loves the 2 I’ve made him- & my son (with very much needed age under the belt) will love his too. You have made on old time study of fire & steel into something more than a tool for combat or hunting & with all that time it took me to type that nonsense up – all I’m saying is “Thank You Sir.” You truly are a master knife smith, & you’ll always have a keen eye fan watching to learn more- & I'll expect nothing the less.
PS “Thank goodness for the net” Just don’t tell my kids I said That !
Regards, & Keep up The Beautiful Work!
Thanks again for your kind words; you’re welcome at my site any time!
The only thing I can offer about filework is practice, practice, practice. I’ve had to relearn much of it as I had to shift from my right hand to my left after a shoulder injury.
I look forward to seeing some of your knives one day.
Every maker is on their own journey. I'm honored that J. can consider my work a bit of inspiration for his own path!
I was unable to find ATS34 or 154CM steel composition or heat treat on the internet. Do you have a web location or file on this material? As an example I have attached a PDF file of a steel (not used for knives) crucible S7XL that is a better version of S7. On the second page of this file on the right side are a table and a graph of both hardness and impact toughness data. This shows that for this steel the optimum tempering temperature is 400 degrees F for the local maximum toughness and a hardness of RC55 to 58.
You may benefit is you had similar data for your steels.
Very Truly Yours,
I do have similar detailed file sheets from all of my manufacturers of the tool steels I use. I don’t post them on the site, nor do I have plans to. If you are looking for specific steels data sheets, I suggest you contact the individual manufacturer, as the steels vary a bit and each manufacturer has their own recommendations.
Thanks again for your input.
This web site is not a data reference or "how-to" source. The information I include on this site is mostly for the knife enthusiast, knife user, knife collector, knife client and knife owner, not the knife maker. His response:
Great! I am glad you asked the manufacturers to give you
the data. Do you take into account the grain direction of each
piece of steel before making a blade?
I'm not really sure where this conversation is going. I get these emails from time to time, people who seem to be checking up on me, making sure that I do my job right, I guess. I wanted to tell him that it's all okay; I know what I'm doing; I've been at this a while and have done well. Since W. is not ordering a knife, I stop the conversation.
I just received the Blackwater in the mail and I am truly astounded. Every aspect, tip to tang, is the
work of a true craftsman. The photo was basically
useless as a judge of the work, none of the details are fully expressed.
The amazing geometry, the beautiful engraving, the complexities in the
handle, the lines and the edge... oh boy. You realized that a knife is
the whole package and you took time to perfect EVERY aspect. NO weak
points, which is very rare on a knife as there will always be
one thing I'm not satisfied with. What impressed me the most was the PERFECT balance. I
have used thousands and own almost a hundred (from $4000 damascus
folders to production neck knives) and I can
say without question that this is the most balanced
knife I have ever, ever had the pleasure to
handle. It glides through the air like water. Beyond description. I can
only dream of what a Katan by you would feel
like. Add in the fantastic sheath and it is the best bargain on a knife
I have ever bought.
Jay thanks again, and from my son whom I'll no doubt pass this on to.
After many years of casual thought I have at last decided to do something about that handmade knife I have always wanted. Several weeks of internet research have seen me visiting and revisiting countless websites.
Sadly, I can't afford a knife from you, but I felt that I should let you knifemaker will be much better informed, and the knife I will specify will be a much more refined object, simply because of the wealth of information on your website. It is clear from your work that yours are opinions to be respected.
Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to e-mail you with a commission.
Until then, best wishes,
Thanks so much for the nice comments. Good luck on your quest for fine knives!
This is what I mean about service to our knife making community. Whether J. buys from me or another knife maker, he will be making a more informed decision based on what he reads here.
I just received the Tribal Helhor and unpackaged it. I'm at a loss of words. I absolutely love it with all my heart. The knife is gorgeous, it feels so good in my hands. I love the tribal engraving and the Pilbara Picasso Jasper compliments the wood tones of the stand and sheath. The sheath and stand are a work of art alone, but all three put the entire piece together as a whole.
It's better then I could have ever imagined. I love it, love it, love it.
I'm going to cherish it for the rest of my life.
Sincerely, R. S.
I have an idea for a knife but I need an experienced knife maker who can put it on paper and build it. I read your description about the $100 deposit for designing the knife and I accept. Whats the best way for me to describe my idea to you? Thanks!
Hi, L. Thanks for writing.
Please don’t send any deposit until we have a general idea of your project. Do you have a drawing or description you can email?
I'm in training for Pararescue and I want a graduation knife. Ive always dreamed of having a custom knife. What I'm looking for is a fixed, double edge, and spear pointed blade. I want to use it on daily ops, but i dont want it to look like a typical work knife. I want this knife to look great when I separate from Pararescue so i can put it on display or possibly give it to one of my kids before I pass on. The look I want this knife to have is a cross between a medieval righteous tone and a modern military presence (if that makes any sense). I drew a outline in ms paint.
Hi, L. Thanks for your service to our country, and thanks for training for the best of the best!
I think I get the idea of your request. I don’t know if I would make it just like you have drawn, but here is a knife that was designed and is being used by a PJ that is double edged and tactical, with the serrations. Please take a look a the Lynx.
A Lynx like the one shown would quote at 1295.00, and delivery time would be 48 months. I do have an accelerated program though that can get you the knife sooner. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll give you the details.
If you want to work up a custom knife, feel free to come by the studio; I’m on the eastern edge of the state.
Thanks again for your service,
The accelerated program I mentioned to L. is with James Beauchamp, collaborative knives in tactical form. Details here.
Just a short note to let you know that my Cyele arrived yesterday and I put her right to work prepping dinner. My initial impression is one of lovely lines, nice balance, and great artistry in her design and fine craftsmanship in execution. I own a number of custom kitchen blades, and your Cyele is a standout in every respect.
Many thanks, Jay - and my deepest appreciation for your skill.
Jay, I'm almost ready to send you send you my drawing. I re-did the whole blade after I thought about my fighting style. No more "impact weapon" butt-cap. It's a MUCH more elegant blade with a very strong emphases on the stab; similar to a Stiletto. You might think it's too thin width wise. Which brings me to my question about your kydex sheaths. I'd like to be able to strap it on my forearm, upper arm, lash it on a modular/ MALICE/ALICE vests, or the traditional way on my belt. I think a few of those options might require slot-holes on outer edges of the sheath. Will the fact that the knife is streamlined also make the sheath itself extremely compact/thin? I can also draw that out as well if that's a little hard to picture. Thanks for your time.
I'm very interested to see your drawing of this blade. We can talk about
the geometry then.
About the sheath: It's quite a challenge to have a universal sheath that fits all mountings. When I've attempted this in the past, the client usually opts for his main or sometimes secondary wear, foregoing some other options. The reason is that with a lot of options, the sheath becomes larger and larger, with clips and straps and rivets and rings... it gets pretty big. Some clients have multiple sheaths for a single knife, I've done this too.
About forearm wear, this doesn't seem to work well, because the wrist end of the arm is so much smaller than the meaty part toward the elbow that when the knife is pulled, the sheath slides down the arm with it. I've seen this countered by a set of straps that goes up the sheath arm, around the neck on the opposite side! That's a heck of a lot of wear for what seems to be a simple sheath. These are just some observations for your consideration. I'm looking forward to your drawings.
By the way, the beauty and hand of my Gemini never cease to amaze me. To those to whom I've showed it, it seems that they can't stop handling it. Needless to say, they are very appreciative of the work of the piece. Truly a work of art.
You already know you do fantastic work, so I really don't have
to play the drooling fanboy there.
I've been poring over your writings (also good, by the way), and have been very impressed by the way you define your field. I have to agree wholeheartedly with the definition of "custom" in regards to a unique or handmade object. Also, even though you "don't teach," I have learned a vast amount about knives and an artificer's ethic since coming to your site. Thank you for the inspiration and seemingly bemused humor of your writing. Keep up the good work.
I like the drooling fans; who wouldn't? This guy gets one of the main purposes of the website, too: that a large part of this job is education.
I have just spent about 12 hours reading your web site and have not finished yet. I wanted to thank you for the time that you have put into the site as it has answered many questions that I have had on custom knives.
I spent 30 years in the Navy 13 at sea and 17 in the Seabees and I carried many knives on my Seabee 782 gear as well as at sea. They were all factory knives, some of them quite expensive for a young sailor. I wish I could have found your knives in 1966!! Your knives are truly works of Art!!!
I have been working on a design for a type of bowie/tactical/fighting knife for years. I am not sure which steel would be best. I like the ATS 34 and the 440 series steels as well as L-6. I do not know the other steels that you mention on your site (I know you didn’t mention L-6 but I thought that I would sneak that in to see what you think about it? LOL) especially the so called super steels.
The steel that I want will have a high polish finish – I am of the school that believes if you have to use your knife in a fight you want to intimidate the hell out of the enemy and a big shiny knife in my experience does it every time – and can withstand the rigors of combat as well as everyday usage as a everyday survival use for everything knife. That is a tall order and I know that that such a knife most likely does not exist. This has meant to me anyway that the knives that I carried were compromises and I hate to compromise when my life might me on the line. I am an old man now so the knife(s) that I get will be passed on to my son and his son one day or perhaps my daughter’s son. In any case, all of this has been going though my mind while reading the pages on your web site.
Damn, I am rambling.. I want to give it some thought to make sure that I get exactly what I want in a knife for a change without having to compromise. I will probably bug the hell out of you with questions, but I hope that the answers are not on your site and the time is worth while.
I really would like your opinion of L-6’s suitability as a knife steel.
Thanks for your time
E. L. F.
Hi, L. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your service to our country.
L6 is a low alloy special purpose tool steel. It’s most frequently used on saw blades and in blanking, forming and trimming dies and feed rollers where toughness and resistance to shock loads must prevail over wear resistance. Toughness is resistance to breakage or fracture. So, you can imagine that a band saw which has to flex a lot would need to be tough. It has some applications in cutlery where that toughness is needed. Unfortunately, it has no corrosion resistance and quickly and easily rusts. So there is a large and looming problem here. Knives that require toughness, like fillet knives or knives that must spring and bend (i.e. kitchen cutlery) would do well to have the toughness of L6, but it rusts so easily that it is not a good selection for this purpose. Most modern knives have some corrosion resistance, and most knife owners insist on high wear resistance (usually higher hardness overall) so the use of L6 is limited. If I have to use a steel that can rust in a knife application, I usually opt for O-1, because it has tungsten and vanadium and has a greater hardenability and wear resistance.
I hope this helps, and I’ll post it on my website for future reference.
The Macha Knife is Awesome!!
Mate, the knife you sent me is totally wild! It has a great feel in my hand and well-balanced too. This knife is already fitted to my Tac Vest and it will serve me well over here in Baghdad.I have shown only a few and some of them are very excited and one who wants an exact replica of my knife.
Thanks again Jay for this truly remarkable weapon! I will be in touch,
Your Aussie Mate in Iraq!
If you cant Stand Behind our Troops...Then Stand in front of them
Thanks for a great web site to read while sitting on call in the
USAF. Gave me something to start saving for and hours of enjoyment even
if I can’t afford one just yet.
Hi, J.C. Thanks for writing, and thanks most for your service to our country!
You can not make a difference, unless you're doing something different.
Interested in my knife patterns:
I am consulting for a company that makes direct manufacture machines.
These systems can build anything from simple to very complex geometry by
printing materials layer by layer. In the past, this has been limited to
prototyping applications [Rapid Prototyping] but recently the technology
has turned the corner and offers new material strengths and build speeds
that can be considered for direct manufacturing. Materials are thermal
plastics and could be considered for handles only. The more complex and
custom the better suited this technology becomes.
Thanks again for considering my work field for applications of this technology. Unfortunately, I don’t think that thermal plastics are durable enough for combat grade knives of the high quality that is demanded of the blades that my military clients require.
Thanks again for the consideration, and good luck on your campaign.
I have to search for words to describe my impressions. My first impression was that the sheath by itself is
a substantial and excellent piece, solid and well executed. My second impression was, “Man, how do you get this thing out of the
sheath!”, but that was a function of working the knife in and out a few times. The Mercator itself seems to defy physics: it is a large,
substantial knife, yet the balance is such that it feels like an extension of the hand and without significant weight. The fit and
finish are impeccable, the fit to the hand very natural…the Mercator just begs to be used! However, I will leave that to the Special
Forces Officer for whom it is intended! I am very confident that he will be very pleased with it!
Thanks, Jay, for your cooperation and craftsmanship. I look forward to working with you on the new project!
Hello my name is D. R.,
I hope you spare a moment for praise. Your designs are inspired and are beautiful forms of true art. They are both functional and beautiful. I aspire to one day make some blades of my own and you set example of perfection and practicality. I am on dialysis and do not foresee being able to afford an example of your art, but through the website I am, to some extent, able to enjoy the art of blade making at its highest level.
Thank you, for the website and the in depth attention to information and fine photography it is truly well executed.
Hi, D. Thanks for writing, and thanks for
your kind words about my site and my work. I look
forward to seeing your knives one day!
I request permission to use your name and material descriptions in a
display I'm preparing for various knife shows. The entire display
centers around KNIFE HANDLE materials and your writings would be
included in a 3-ring binder beside knives and material ( some of
which will be ordered from you). Full credit will be given to you for
Please reply ...
Thank you for considering this
Hello, B. Thanks for writing.
I'm sorry, you do not have permission to use any of the photos, text, writing, or any data or information from my web site, as it is all copyrighted.
Thanks for understanding,
I wanted to drop you a quick line for several reasons. First and foremost, your website is by far one of the finest custom knife sites I've been to. Unlike every other website out there now, yours actually has a warm organic tone to it. Not only is it full of great art, info, and patterns, I (a horrifically computer illiterate newbie) can easily find my way around the whole site.
I am a PJ stationed at the 38 RQS at Moody AFB. I was interested in having
a modified version of the "Midnight" tactical knife made. What I am
interested in is having the more aggressive serration pattern and having the
handle done in maroon linen with a lanyard hole. Also, I would definitely
want a locking sheath and loops for a belt and not a belt clip. If you
could give me an idea of what that would run and a time frame on
production that would great.
Hello, K. Thanks for writing.
Sure, I can do a Midnight Tactical in the way you requested. I need to know: Hot blued bead blasted high carbon alloy? (That's the flat black look) Or bead blasted stainless, or mirror polished stainless steel? The locking stainless sheath adds about $150 to the cost of the piece. The prices range from $395 to $495 with micarta handle.
Please do not go by this quote; this email is several years old and prices have gone up considerably!
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I wanted to take a moment and send a word of thanks to you and your organization for having such an informative website. I was trolling the web for grinding ideas when I happened upon your site, and I have to say, wow. I am a hobbyist maker on my best day, but, I do have a set of successes that I take pride in. I have a severe aversion to making "crap," so when I get solid advice on making a better product by veterans, I am all ears.
When I first started in on your site I thought, gee, this guy is full of himself. However, even if you are a cutlery steel sales rep with tons of book smarts behind you, I think there is no better schooling than listening to those who have trod where you are now treading. Your site should be sold as hokum repellant.
Seriously, thank you for giving of your knowledge and time to those of us who need a good tuning up occasionally.
Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words about my site and work.
Brian, you would do me a great honor if you allowed me to post your email on my site.
The internet is changing the world of knives, and more people are learning what constitutes a good, solid piece of work and what is sold as hype. For so many decades, lack of information has kept the masses in the dark, with simple catch phrases and power words, without any facts or specifics to back it up. My goal, as an individual artist and craftsman, is to share what I have learned for others to see and benefit from, no matter whether they are a client or another knife maker. I’m glad you found the information useful, and I hope to see your knives one day!
The very best of luck to you and your family!
Greetings Jay- The honor would be all mine, good sir! I have a lot to say about the abuse of media for one's profit. Flagrant(and not so flagrant,) misinformation in the cutlery field will only breed more distrust and eventual apathy in favor of the path of least effort. I work in the construction trades, and have a great many opportunities to "enlighten" my buddies on anything knife related anytime they gripe about their pricey blade failing them in the field. I prattle on about proper edge geometry for the proper steel, right and wrong sharpening techniques, blah, blah....they don't want to hear it! They carry and use the knife as if it were made of titanium and diamonds. When it goes dull after cutting open 10 bags of concrete, I say, "that's pretty good for cutting concrete". "But it's a SUPER steel, dude", they say. They were sold a bill of goods and, in their minds, the flashier, the better. I'm prattling again....please feel free to post my e-mail, Jay. Like I said, the pleasure is all mine.
Great explanation on mirror finish on a blade. Your site is so comprehensive, it is truly a reference work all on its own. What a tremendous amount of work you have put into every aspect of your work.
Thanks so much for your comments. Please remember me when you want a fine custom handmade knife!
G. mentions an often overlooked aspect of this profession: hard work. He can see what I've put into this site, the knives, and the profession overall. Thank God we have a country where an individual can work hard and make a success of his life; there are so many other places on earth where this opportunity is not available.
I wanted to send you a short note to let you know just how
much I am enjoying and owning the fine Muleshoe knife you made. It embodies the practical and the
artistic brought together seamlessly by your marvelous craftsmanship. I look forward to using it for many
years to come. Clearly a knife designed for use, it is also stylistically and elementally a true New
Mexican knife. I really do appreciate it. Thank you again for coming up with a useful tool that is so
beautifully evocative of the place I call home. I wish you the best of luck
in all you do, and I hope you keep making knives for a long long time to come.
All my best,
How would one get started in hand-making swords?
One would study and read every piece of material one could acquire on hoplology (the study of ancient weapons) and modern knife and sword making.
I think I get what S.A.T. is asking. He's looking for a sourcebook on swords, with modern interpretation and historic designs and information, including enough valuable information to get him started making them. To my knowledge, there is no such book, but many books, texts, and historical references on the sword. The sword is a special case of weapon, and I go into detail on its special place in our world in my book.
Antiquity! I like its ruins better than its reconstructions.
18th century French Moralist
Just writing to say, "Wow!" Stumbled on your site and LOVE it.
A new motivation for me to make money: So I can own a Jay Fisher custom made knife!
Your trusted friend,
Good to hear from you again. I must tell you a story regarding one of the Gemini’s. I asked my son to bring them to me as I was discussing them with a friend. He picked up the knives in the display case and was not as careful as he should have been, and the next thing I heard was the sound of a blade bouncing on the marble floor. I was furious and started to measure my response as I picked the knife up, there was no damage, but there was blood on it. I looked at my son, 18, and he was just standing there with a blank look on his face. When I looked down, I saw he was standing in a pool of blood! What he had done was put his foot out to stop the knife hitting the floor and as a consequence the blade stuck into him. He lost about half a pint of blood and needed to be rushed to hospital, where he received treatment and stitches.
My son is reparable the knife was not, and my son James took the hit for the knife!
All the best,
Hey Jay! Just got the knife today. WOW!!! The
pics you sent me did NO justice to the knife at all. This is
BY FAR the nicest knife I have ever owned! I was also
pleasantly surprised by how nice the sheath came out. For the
last few months I have been second guessing my decision for the
locking sheath. Now I am glad I went in that direction.
The pics I have seen of that sheath do not show how sturdy and well
built that thing really is. I think you may need to show a
side profile of that in one of the pics. That large slab of
aluminum will show people its more than just kydex bolted together.
I think your description says how it is built – but I didn’t
understand till I actually saw it in person! Anyways, thank
you for a GREAT knife! I will look forward to enjoying it for
many years! Also, I'm already
planning my next one. You can be sure that I will be showing
it off to all my friends and letting them know about you and the
quality of your work! (most already know as
I've been talking about these knives for quite a while – but
I think they will be astonished when they see they experience your
work first hand
I am very interested in purchasing a custom knife from you. Specifically the PJLT design. I have fallen in love with tanto style blades over the years, and yours by far are the most beautiful I've seen. I wanted to know if there was a difference between the 440c high chromium steel, and the 440c high chromium tool steel?
I'm looking for a blade that will withstand heavy field use, water and salt water submersion. What do you think of my choice: Bead-blasted 440c High Chromium Stainless Steel or (Tool) Steel, Nickel Silver Bolsters, Micarta Handle, Black Military Grade Waterproof Sheath.
No doubt you are very busy. If you have a chance to respond, your insight would be very appreciated.
Hi, J. Thanks for writing.
The only difference in 440C and 440C tool steel blades would be that any steel called a tool steel has been hardened and tempered. I don't always call 440C a "tool" steel, but it is. Sometimes, I'll omit the word tool, but all my 440C blades have been hardened and tempered.
Most fine blade steels will withstand heavy use. Only a few stainless steels will resist corrosion of marine (salt water) environments, and in those, none will withstand long or continuous marine submersion, only periodic exposure followed by rinsing in clear water and drying. Most of my military clients who use knives in marine environments opt for 440C because of the high corrosion resistance, and after their missions, they throw the knives and sheaths in the rinse tank with their other gear. Longevity and service has been very good with these knives.
I would not recommend nickel silver; it is a white brass, and though it resists corrosion somewhat, 304 austenitic stainless steel would be corrosion free.
The price for a PJLT, bead blasted 440C stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, micarta phenolic handle, kydex, aluminum, and nickle plated steel tension sheath is $850.00. Prices go up from there depending on materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories.
Currently, my backlog is three years, but possibly sooner.
I was reminded of Miyamoto Musashi, and his lethal
demonstrations with a wooden practice sword, having evolved to a point of not
even needing an edged weapon...
There is a point when the art of human form and movement surpasses objects. Then, the objects themselves become an artistic expression of that form and motion.
I'm an artist craftsman who is considering getting much more serious about knife making. I want to make knives that serve for a lifetime and longer. For a while I was having a hard time getting past people telling me that if I wasn't out there folding the steel I wasn't a true knife maker. I now realize that's like saying if i didn't make my own clay I'm not a sculptor.
Your site is one of the most informative sites out there on the web that I have come across, and by far the most informative on knife making. Thanks for all of the free information. To own one of your knives would be great, but every last dollar is going into equipment and steel for the moment. Someday though...
Hello, H. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about my
site and work.
You’re right; there are a lot of “purists” out there, who use a vague set of qualifications to push their own knives. Unfortunately, they often choose to ignore the simple needs of knife users: a knife design specific to their needs, well made, fitted, and finished, and of the highest quality materials, properly treated for durability.
Some people buy the image of a burly blacksmith standing behind the anvil with sparks flying on each blow, but most modern knife clients simply want the best made knife available for their use or collection.
Welcome to the world of knife making, I hope your journey is as fun as mine has been!
I have found the excerpt from your book very educational and I look forward to finding your up coming book in stores. Your web site is very educational thank you for sharing this information. It has inspired me to continue with my first knife project knife that I stared with at the request of my knife fighting Instructor on his design after I told him I was interested in going into designing blades for the Search and Recovery team that I am on. Both basic designs that I had were plain Jane till and neglected some little refinements that you mentioned in a good knife. I look forward to some time in the future purchasing one of you fine blades your use of natural materials is amazing.
Thank you for your time,
Hello, M. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about my
work, my site and my writing.
My first sold knife was made for the Master who ran my Kenpo Dojo. It was an Ed Parker knock-off, the father of modern American Karate. The martial arts are a great resource for knife design and interest.
I’m working on a bunch of SAR and CSAR knives right now, including one for a WMD SAR K9 professional. It’s always an honor to work with these pros; they offer great insight and ideas, and it’s neat to know the knives are used in the real world.
Thanks again for your interest,
I received my knife a few days ago and I wanted to write you and tell you how pleased I am with the knife you created for me. Jay, ordering a knife from you is a journey! I can remember my first glance at your web sight, looking at all those beautiful, rugged, and inspiring knives you have created for your clients.
Then I began to read the copious amounts of information you have written about on so many topics related to a quality knife, and for that matter, lousy knives. I took a side road or two to research the information you write about on your site and I can say this: your information is accurate, your opinions are based on exceptional research, years of experience, and just plain good sense. And yes, I did research some of the topics you wrote about to test the information you provided. This took me many months, but it was well worth it to know that the individual I was going to do business knew what he was talking about, had proven experience, and applied his knowledge to his work. You do!
The next leg of my journey was to actually call and talk to you; that was intimidating, believe it or not. Thank you for putting me at ease and for taking the time away from your studio and works in progress to educate me, listen to my expectations, and to manage them so carefully.
Next thing I knew I was giving you my story. If you’ll recall, I told you about the hundreds of dollars I have spent over the last 20 years in purchasing knives that I though were of good or excellent quality, only to retire them to a plastic container in the garage filled with old knives that turned out to be a waste of money. You asked me what I was going to be using my knife for, under what conditions, and then you started mold a vision for me of what my knife would look like. I wanted a working knife, of exceptional form and function and a sheath that would hold my knife whether I was walking, running, climbing, or belly crawling through a variety of conditions. I wanted an edge that was sharp and strong, but able to touch up in the field. I often spent extended times in the field, so low maintenance was also a priority.
Well, Jay, you delivered!! I received my knife and when I opened it, I was elated! Not only did you meet my expectations, you exceeded them. I have a knife and sheath that was worth EVERY bit of what I paid for it. I will use it often with full confidence that it won’t let me down. Believe it or not, I cannot wait until the day I can hand it down to one of my kids. At first I felt my journey was over but after many times handling my knife, and proudly showing it off to others, I have a feeling another journey is in the making.
Jay, in this day and age of mass production, where we the consumer are often lied to and cheated through promises of good or even exceptional quality, it was fantastic to meet an ethical, honest business man who so carefully considers the needs and expectations of his customer as you do. I consider it an honor and a pleasure to have done business with you, and look forward to future contacts with you.
A client sent me an article clipped from the New York Times about knife sharpening and the "legendary" skills of the Japanese in making blades and having a better cutting edge. It was the usual knife hype from a mass-market industry, and I evaluated and wrote:
Hi, B. Thanks for the article clipping. It’s interesting how
little people actually know about the cutting edge. There is no
mystique, no legendary knife style or quality necessary for a
very sharp, very long lasting cutting edge. It’s simple really:
the blade must be as thin as possible, and the sharpening angle
as low as possible. There are other considerations, of course,
being the type of steel, and the geometry of the grind, and the
use of the knife.
Chef’s cutlery is ground as thin as is reasonably possible. In some ways, the chef’s knife is one of the toughest to make by hand, as I grind them incredibly thin. I also use a hollow grind, something you will seldom, if ever, see in a factory chef or kitchen knife. Factories flat grind the thin blades on automated machines, and though the flat grind is initially sharp, it will get much thicker with the first and successive sharpenings. I detail this on my Blades page in the geometry section.
When I got into knives, I looked for the ultimate resource on the cutting edge. What I found was a man who had made a living for over 35 years as a sharpening consultant to the textile and meat packing industry. Now, in industry, these guys don’t screw around. They don’t have time for confusing and mystical gimmicks, or hyperbole. They must have the sharpest cutting edges, for the longest time, with a technique that is clear, maintainable, and very sharp. If you’ve ever seen the “line” at a packing plant, it is an amazing thing- the people are whipping meat off the bone at an incredible pace! The knives are super-razor keen, and they wear special Kevlar or stainless steel cut-resistant gloves for protection from the blades. In textile plants, razor sharp wheels, shears, and blades cut through thousands of miles of materials, without snagging or tearing. This guy advised them on how to maintain their cutting edges. His name was John Juranich, and he wrote a good, short, concise book on what he knew. It’s called “Razor Edge Sharpening” and it’s available on his website (run by his family, I think).
They also sell gadgets on their site that help you maintain that sharpening angle, but I don’t recommend them on a custom knife, because they clamp on to the spine of the knife and can mar the finish. But the resource is worth it, and that’s why I recommend Juranich’s book on every knife care sheet I supply with every knife. I can’t live long enough to have the experience this man has had sharpening blades, so I use what he learned.
About the companies selling kitchen knives: these types of knives are a big volume business. They rely upon continuous sales in a pretty low end market. There is a heap of competition in what they do, so the only way they can be successful is by selling more units at a higher price than the competition. So, the industry relies upon an immense and embarrassing amount of hype. There are no “legendary” kitchen knives, anywhere in history, no matter what they say. Here’s a comparison: In the days of old, the musicians, jesters, actors, and entertainers were some of the lowest class, lowest paid, taking bones thrown from the King’s court as payment for their services. Today, they are hyped by our culture and media’s hunger for dollars to a point of absurd payment for their services, some have become “idols.” Is their talent really that precious? Or is it a twisted part of capitalism that has somehow skewed our values? The same can be said of kitchen knives. Kitchen knives are common, mostly cheap and every household has them, but somehow these companies try to hype the quality of their cheap knives for a greater return.
Here’s a prime example from the article: the difference of having a relief angle and edge on one side of the blade is not some great advantage to the end user of the knife, it’s one of savings in manufacturing! It’s cheaper and simpler to take a thin blade blank, put a relief angle only on one side, cut your machining expenses in half, and then hype it up as some great benefit. It makes no difference whether the compound angles come from one side or two, a low angle is possible with both methods, and thus, there is no sharper knife. What it says to me is that these Asian cutlery firms are competing with the dominant German firms for moderately priced kitchen cutlery, in a world where people are starting to realize that they don’t want a “Ginsu” kitchen knife sitting on the counter of their very expensive and important kitchen.
That’s where fine custom knives come in. Factories can’t even come close...
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.
Colossians, iv, 6
I was searching your pages looking for a gift for a friend. The Durango was very
catchy. I would like to find out a price for this knife and if you have this in
stock or something maybe fairly close. Also, do you come to Tucson to the shows here any time ??
Thanks for your time,
The Durango is a popular style, and I've made it in dozens of different handle materials. The price of a piece depends on the embellishment, handle material, blade finish, sheath or stand, engraving, etching, etc. Prices for the Durango start at $450 for an exotic hardwood or similar handle with brass fittings, and $650 for a gemstone handle with stainless fittings. I guarantee my workmanship and your satisfaction, if you receive the knife and don't love it, you don't buy it. My waiting period for new orders is six to 12 months due to my military knife orders.
I don't have anything in stock exactly like the Durango you highlighted, but I'll be posting some new models on my "for sale" page in the next few weeks. I can send you images, or we can discuss particulars through email. The only show I'm doing this year is the Knifemaker's Guild in Orlando in July, but if you're ever in NM, stop by!
This is an older email, please do not use the quoted prices. Also, I haven't done any shows in years!
My Pecos II arrived in pristine condition. This is absolutely a work of art and the pictures on the website will never be able to fully capture the essence of this knife. As I suspected, the only thing that I want to do with it is display it proudly on my wall for everyone to see and for me to keep it in the condition that it arrived in. I will take it out and handle it, I will polish and protect it and I will show everyone who comes over. Then I will put it back in its display case and threaten to kill anyone who leaves finger prints on it...
Really Jay, you do amazing work. Thank you for the patience that you show when I'm asking questions and the time that you take to add some personal notes in our email conversations. It makes me feel like I'm doing business with a friend and when you take the time to get to know your clients it makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
I'm looking forward to the next addition to my family...that one I intend to actually cut something with :)
Just visited your site and am looking for a dagger, having never owned one my first thought was Damascus but with financial reality it may not happen, my husband and I were particularly found of your Venus dagger, and would be interested in knowing how much it would be in a Damascus as well as the other possibility's.
K. & B. F.
The price of the Venus dagger depends upon many things, as I make it in several
different sizes and with different materials, embellishments, finishes, etc. A
small dagger with clean lines will run about $300, medium sizes in the range of
600-1000, full embellished gemstone pieces on stands may run from 1500 on up.
Are we still talking?
Yes I believe we may still be talking.....was thinking something round about a
5" blade. Still stuck on the Damascus but would be open to any suggestions you
might have. Having never owned a dagger myself am looking for something to go
with a formal gown I have (Renaissance type). My husband is a member of the E. Clampus Vitus organization and felt this style would make a nice touch to the
gown. Still listening, look forward to hearing from you soon.
K. & B. F.
A 5" Damascus blade would be a bit of an investment, probably 700-800 minimum,
not including embellishment. The other problem is care and longevity. Good, bold
patterns in pattern welded carbon steels are achieved by alternating layers of
high and low carbon tool steels, steels that can be blued. Therefore, they can
also rust. Just a little moisture left on this type of blade creates rust, and
residing in a leather sheath can quickly rust the blade when moisture levels are
only moderate. The third factor is strength, realizing that each layer boundary
is a weld, and welds create stresses in the structure (but I know you're not too
worried about that, right?). Of course, you can go with stainless Damascus, but
that's more expensive.
For appearance, nothing beats 440C high chromium stainless die steel. It is hard, tough, finishes exquisitely, requires almost no care, maintains a high finish and is durable, and ridiculously easy to clean. This steel is the choice of military combat knife users, as well as police, bomb techs, SWAT teams, divers, and sailors. It is also the steel I use in all those beautiful art sculptures on my web site, on all the swords, and on the blade of my Partizan that is in the Tower of London.
Some collectors are even going to mirror finished hot blued blades, which can be jet black, cobalt blue, vermilion spotted, or straw gold, but these are simply oxidation processes that retard corrosion and can eventually wear off. I do those, too.
So, K., that might be more information than you require, so I'll hem it in some: I can make a 5" bladed dagger with hidden or full tang, high chromium mirror finished stainless steel, with a wooden or organic handle for $500, with a gemstone handle for $600. This would include a leather sheath. Embellishment: etching, engraving, lettering, mosaics, sheath finework, etc. would be extra.
Please note that this is an older email and the quote does not reflect current prices!
Yesterday I came home after a long day at work and was pleasantly surprised to see a box from you. That was fast, efficient service! When I opened the box I was blown away. Your knife was everything you said and more. It was not only beautifully made, comfortable to hold, magnificent to look at and sharp enough to cut a whisper, it was also well balanced and unlike most fine artwork which you are terrified to touch for fear that you might damage it, totally tangible. There is nothing like steel and stone for a combination. It feels better than any other knife I own and I have knives from many other great masters, Ray Beers, Reese Weiland and many more. I am not disparaging their work, they are masters and I will never trade or sell their work, but your knife gave me a totally different feeling. I have decided to try to buy one to two of your knives exclusively for the next couple years (depending on what I can talk you into).
A detailed response to an inquiry:
Hello, Mr. R. Thanks for writing, and taking the time to investigate my site
and my work.
Yes, I do make handles out of other plastic materials. I have used and am using G10, nylon, delrin, and vulcanized fiber, as well as Micarta. I haven't used "soft" grips like Kraton, because, I believe, it has to be molded onto the knife, and flexibility might lead to durability problems. Not many of my clients ask for that type of handle, either.
The serrations question you answered in a later email. I have several types of rip teeth, all very sharp and very thin. When I started making knives for the military, they requested teeth that work, that is: teeth that will cut, tear, and rip even if broken off. So I developed several different styles to accommodate directional cutting, cutting hardwoods, textiles, and bone.
About shiny blades: somewhere on my site (it's so large even I get lost sometimes!), I explain that military clients that carry mirror finished blades into combat are spraying them with camo paint, sheaths and all, then washing it off with lacquer thinner when they return from their tour. This way they've protected the finish somewhat, and had something very nice to hang on their wall afterwards, eventually to hand down to their children. At present, I do not coat blades myself, because that would hide the grinds, hide any potential flaws, and chip and peel, eventually.
I'll go on to answer here a question on your second email, about bluing. Bluing is a process of oxidizing ("rust" is a form of oxidation, uncontrolled and irregular). Hot bluing (which is what I do) is a controlled, deep passive oxidation process whereby the steel is cleaned thoroughly, chemically and molecularly, then immersed in a superheated boiling solution of sodium nitrate and other salts, for 40 minutes or longer. This oxidizes the first several thousandths of an inch of the steel surface, which is a very deep penetration. The bluing process is the same used on all fine firearms, that black dark look that takes years to buff, scrape, or polish off. My process excels in penetration, where most firearms might be blued for 10-20 minutes, I start at 40. To give you an illustration, when I cut my makers mark into a blued blade using a diamond point engraver at 50 pounds per square inch, it takes three full passes to cut through the bluing to achieve a bright cut! To sum, hot caustic bluing is a well-recognized, time-proven method of inhibiting corrosion (not eliminating it) on the surface of steels. My own son (in the 101st Airborne) carries a hot blued skeletonized knife in combat in Iraq. So do his buds. They're very happy with the performance.
That being said, please remember, there is NO corrosion proof tool steel. Even 440C, which contains 17% chromium will rust and corrode in salts or acidic environments. Please look at my "Care of Your Custom Military Knife" page on my website.
About the solid metal butt cap: There are several options, on a full tang knife, which is the strongest design, a supplemental bolster can be attached that will accomplish your objective. Extra care can be taken to attach it rigidly and permanently. The other option is a hidden tang knife, where the pommel is a butt cap, but it is not as physically strong. A third option is to mill the entire knife and fittings in one piece, but this is not cost effective, as the steel alone will cost several hundred dollars, and labor will add several hundred more to the base price, getting the knife well over a thousand to start with!
The weapon does not the warrior make.
From a forum posting:
I happened to see your work last night and decided to look at your website. I
cost me 3 hours of my life, and I only scratched the
surface! :) As a professional chef, I was enthralled by your chef's knives and
your curved knife block is just an amazing piece of art. I showed my wife the
knife I liked and she said "buy it if you want it, it is beautiful". I may well
be in touch before Christmas.
I used to do tumble-stone lapidary jewelry and always wanted a diamond saw, but at 22 years of age couldn't afford it.
Hi, A. Thanks for posting. And thanks for taking the time to look at my
site. I hope it was informative. I spend a heck of a lot of time there myself!
Professional chef's knives are picking up momentum in the industry. I think that is because as factory prices keep going up, and the factory knives essentially stay the same, people are beginning to question why they would pay so much for the same junky knives, when they could spend a little more and have a knife (or set) that would last them for generations, something extremely well made and beautiful. Consequently, I have several custom order projects on the bench right now, sets and individual knives for the chef. Look for them to be posted there before Christmas.
Right now, my orders are running from 6 to 10 months. I guess that is a client's biggest complaint, but as the work becomes more popular, that is how it should be. I've heard of makers who have a 7 year waiting list, and other makers who just make what they want and then a potential client would have to get on a list to be called when the knife comes up for sale! So I guess my lead time is not too bad...
Lapidary work is cool. Not too many people have the patience for it, as you probably have discovered. Working up a piece of stone is a whole lot different than working with steel, wood, or antler.
My name is J., I'm an
honorary member of the Knifemakers Guild and a collector
for many years. I own two of your fine knives and am
looking to add a few more to my collection! Looking
through your many blade styles, I came across several
that really interested me.
The first is the Raptor Karambit with the red jasper handle. Here is the link: http://jayfisher.com/_borders/RAPTORJASPERB.jpg
How much would it be for you to make this for me like it is in the picture? I would like the blade sharp on top and bottom.
Second, I really love the Athane dagger just as it is. The link is http://jayfisher.com/_borders/Athane1.jpg
Can you give me prices on these two? Also, I saw that I could pay $100.00 a month layaway. I could more than likely actually pay more than that a month. Deals I've made with other makers consist usually of me paying $100.00 to $250.00 a week, which I don't mind. Also, does the layaway apply to knives already made on your site? I'm interested in the Ladron and the Mountain Creature...
One last question. I know you've made A LOT of knives, so I don't expect you to remember, but I mentioned I have two of your knives. One is a Mardi Gras Dagger with purple Mexican agate and nickel silver bolsters. I bought it from a friend in 1999. He had it at least 5 years before that, probably a lot longer. What do you value this knife at? Also I have a Honduran rosewood skinner/hunter type knife with nickel silver bolsters / pins and filework on the spine of the tang and blade. Again, the knife was most likely made in the early 90s / late 80s. Can you give me a value of this... Okay, hope you have time to read all that! I'll await your reply!
Thank-you so much for your time!
Hi J. Thanks for writing. Sorry for the delayed response,
I've been at the Knifemakers Guild show and been on the road
for the last week.
The Raptor is suddenly a popular knife and a fine choice. Blade magazine asked for the picture you're looking at and some more info, so they'll hopefully be featuring it soon. The Raptor pictured is $1200.00 The price includes full bolster engraving, full filework, a gemstone handle, and an exotic inlaid sheath. It is doubled edged, with a taper grind and hollow grind. The price may be adjusted if other options are suitable, such as hardwood, ivory, or bone handle, a different sheath, etc. The actual knife in the picture belongs to a fellow in the DEA, and I'll be building several more in the next few weeks for custom orders.
The Athane you refer to is currently in Japan. It is a beautiful knife, with segmented gemstone handle, wire wrapped and fluted, and rests in a full wooden case. One similar would cost from 1800.00 to 2800.00, depending on gemstone type, fluting, precious metals, guard and pommel work and type, and stand, sheath or case. The actual knife pictured was 2400.00, including the case (not pictured).
You are correct that on my website I state that I accept layaways, but only on custom orders. The knives already completed can sell suddenly, so I don't offer layaway on those. Both the knives: Ladron and Mountain Creature are very popular so I don't expect those to last long. Most people will use a credit card if they don't have the full price on hand, and I do accept most credit cards, so please let me know if you're interested.
About your "JaFisher-Quality Custom Knives," you are right, I've made a lot and I can't clearly identify the knives you've mentioned. Right now, I believe I've made close to 1500 knives in the last 25 years, so I would need a picture to tell you more info about them. Can you snap a quick photo and email it? I might have more info for you.
Let me know if you'd like me to build a "Raptor" for you. I can put it in the next batch!
Please note that I do not appraise or assign value on any of my knives. Read about this topic on my Business of Knifemaking page at this link.
I bought the small Nihal with the jasper handle and my name engraved on the blade. My purpose for the knife was as a deer cleaning blade for internal work where a larger hunting knife just doesn’t work very well. I am pleased to report that this fine example of your art is exactly what I needed. It is incredibly sharp and even bone doesn’t dull the blade. When not in use in the field it sits on my desk as a letter opener. It is one of the finer possessions a man can treasure for his lifetime and then pass on to many future generations…knowing they will treasure it equally as well.
A client set me a "news release" about a new knife company, who's supposedly found a way to treat the surface and cutting edge of D2 by "friction forging" (hey I do that all the time, it's called knife grinding). This is supposed to be the biggest breakthrough of knives in 40 years. This is such typical hype, and I responded about the article:
Yes, this one gave me a few smiles. It was pretty long, and seems to me to be typical factory hype.
Differential tempering is nothing new (it's not differential hardening, as the text stated). The ancient Japanese did this a lot, and in the last few years it's been very popular with the forged knife crowd. Does it make a "better" blade? That's not something you can verify one way or another. Many great tool steels are out there that are both hard and tough, wear resistant and shock resistant without differential tempering. They typically cannot be forged though, and that is why you see so many blades with hamon lines that are made of lower quality carbon steels.
D2 is a high quality tool steel though, and if these guys really found a way to produce a superior hardness at any location on the surface, you'd see the treatment being done to ball bearings, industrial tools, and used in the military industrial complex, not on simple $300 knives. Since this new "discovery" is not sweeping the metallurgical industrial complex, I'd have to guess that it's just hype.
Additionally, the knife has to be sharpened, and when that happens, any surface treatment will be ground away. I don't care how deep the penetration of this treatment is, sooner or later, it will be ground away.
The ad does everything I talk about on the site: using the name of a well-known custom knife maker, cutting rope as some sort of test of usability, hyping some indistinguishable feature of the steel instead of the geometry, fittings, fit, finish, handle, or sheath. And saying that the D2 "withstands " corrosion is vague at best. D2 will easily corrode, just leave some orange juice, blood, or salt water on the surface and watch.
Joe, it's sad that this stuff goes on. One interesting thing is the attempt to push these low end knives above the $300 range, high for any factory knife. I'm guessing that within five years, we'll see a factory knife like this in the $500 range, and people will still be selling the hype.
That's alright I suppose, I'll just have to keep raising my prices too!
Oh, if you really want a laugh, look at the C****** A***** Trade Research Association site. It' full of total factory bunk and hype, including statements like "hollow grinding is cheaper to produce than flat grinding." Yeah, that's why you see so many cheap kitchen knives hollow ground... The site is nothing more than the sales site for a very overpriced mechanical sharpening machine for factory knives. So it's blatant misrepresentation all around!
Why is so much time spend on excuses, hype, dodging, and bull, instead of making a really fine product in America? I'd like to see any one of these people make a knife, instead of pile on misinformation.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
I would be interested in ordering a knife. The pinon was the only one I saw on the web site and I found it very appealing, but would certainly be interested in your other models. I am looking for something "fancy", but not overly so. Please let me know the next step.
The next step is twofold. Size and price. Determine how much you want to budget for the piece, and what general size. Then we can discuss patterns, options, etc.
My name is M. R. I saw a model on your website that caught my eye. Attached is the picture that I saw. I'm happy with the knife and its holder. I love the pattern of the bolsters. However, I would prefer either a less 'busy' pattern on the handle, or the same pattern with less color contrasts, preferably in shades of dark red (carmine, maroon, crimson). I also would like to personalize somehow my knife, maybe engraving my initials or name.
Do you think this is tacky or not a good idea for any reason?. Anyway, I gotta tell you that while I'm not a knife-making expert or anything remotely close, I do appreciate and recognize beauty and quality when I see it, and going through your website has been a delight.
Hope to hear from you soon
Hello, M. Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words about
The Wasat you described is an elegant knife, with a trailing point and light handle contours. The Stromatolite gemstone handle would make a beautiful version of this knife.
Personalization is an individual decision. While it can make a knife unique and identifiable, it also limits or even prevents resale on the knife market. If a knife is purchased for investment value alone, the knife is rarely personalized. If it is intended to stay in the family (as most of these knives outlast their original owners), then the owner sometimes prefers the custom personalization for conventional family heirloom identification.
A Wasat with a mirror finished blued O-1 high chromium tungsten-vanadium tool steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, and a red Fossilized Stromatolite Algae gemstone handle with exotic inlays in a leather sheath would quote at $2295.00.
Due to a long order list and high interest, delivery times for new orders are quoting at 48 months, but possibly sooner.
M., please let me know if you're interested in this or any other fine custom handmade knife.
As of yet no premonition has revealed the mystical powers bestowed to her but Wayland himself must have placed his hands upon your shoulders as he smiled with delight. Beautiful she is and trusted companion she'll become one truly for the ages. From the first and I hope not the last email to you your customer service and attentiveness has been nothing less than first class, something retail and Big Box stores no longer offer. Another reason too buy a Jay Fisher knife!
Thank you for accepting the commission of my first custom knife, I now know I made the right choice.
I've emailed you in the past w/ questions and you've been quite helpful. Again, your site is excellent and I've learned much from it. I was wondering if you might know anything about 1.4116 stainless steel. I can't find any specific information about this alloys qualities, only sites that are selling knives made with this metal come up. Thank you for your past help and any help you can offer here.
1.4116 stainless steel is a low carbon stainless steel, a very poor steel for knives indeed. The cheapest, most often sold mass-produced kitchen and steak knives are usually made of 420 series stainless steels. The 1.4116 stainless rates only slightly better, with a small amount of vanadium for wear resistance. In my opinion, W, this type of steel is only used on very cheap knives not expected to perform well.
One pound of learning requires ten pounds of common sense to to apply it.
Hello Mr. Fisher,
I have been looking for someone to craft a custom dagger for me for some time. After reviewing your site and seeing your work I have become interested in seeing if this is a project you have time for. I am looking for a dagger of approx. 16 inches in length. Double edged damascus steel. The handle I would like to be made of either African black wood or bog oak. I would prefer it the handle be black or as dark brown as possible. I have attached both a drawing of the blade shape I would like as well as a example of a cross guard I like. I have read your site and know that you do not copy another's work, I respect that. The example is simply meant as an illustration of what I am looking for. I would like the design to be smooth simply and elegant. Thank for your time.
Hello, R. Thanks for writing.
I don’t know if my work would fit in your time frame, as new orders are taking about 36 months, due to high order volume. Currently, I have over 100 fine knife projects on the bench.
Damascus daggers of the size and quality that you’ve described are starting at about $5000, and go up from there depending on materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories.
Please let me know if you’re interested, and if I can make this or any other fine custom knife for you.
Perfect! And that is all I’ll say. I could say perfectly balanced, magnificent, beautiful, incredible file work, professionally executed, flawlessly finished masterpiece with the most beautiful handle I have ever seen on any knife period – but I think I will just stick with Perfect!
Jay, I am ready to get you started. I had a question on what I might expect from the 0-1 blade.
Most of my recent experience is with 'stainless' blades-ATS-34, AUS-8, and VG-10. Recently, I have used
S30V, and that seems to be my favorite thus far. I have used D2, but don't remember much about it. I seem
to recall that D2 has molybdenum in it, and 0-1 has tungsten.; Correct? Conceivably, in a
not-so-human world, I might expect the 0-1 to be a better piercer, and the D2 to be a better pryer -am I on the right
track? What are your thoughts?
There are many differences in each steel you list. Even the steels by designation are different.
Start with S30V. This very may well be different than CPMS30V, which is crucible particle metallurgy steel, sintered and formed as powder into a billet or bar. This is what I use. The "S30V" slang may be a shortened term, but I suspect it has also been used erroneously to bring other steels under the blanket of the Crucible Particle Metallurgy tool steel's reputation.
CPMS30V has very high vanadium. Vanadium during heat treat forms vanadium carbides in the matrix, and they are some of the most wear resistant carbides. So CPMS30V’s claim to fame is great wear resistance when properly hardened and tempered. It can be so wear resistant that it is difficult to field sharpen. CPMS30V is also a stainless steel, so resist corrosion better than many other steels. Unfortunately, it can not be mirror finished, so must be left sanded, bead blasted, or rough, which can actually accelerate corrosion! I know … this can get confusing.
O-1 is a cold work tool steel, and I use a version that is a high tungsten-vanadium tool steel. So, when heat treated, it forms tungsten carbides and vanadium carbides in the matrix. Both are wear resistant, but overall, O-1 is much easier to sharpen in the field. This can be important on excursions, military or civilian. In the field, the O-1 can be honed to an incredibly keen edge, and many of my clients believe it can be made sharper than the stainless steels. I don’t think it’s actually sharper; it’s just that it can be more easily honed, whereas the stainless steels take much longer to hone up.
D2 is die steel created to make dies that press and form and cut other metals. It has the highest carbon content of any tool steel, about 1.65%. It also has high chromium, but not as much as most stainless steels, so it is not a true stainless. However, with the high carbon content and the increased chromium, it forms chromium carbides in the matrix and they are very hard and wear resistant. D2 can be made extremely hard, tough, and wear resistant. It is very expensive steel, nearly impossible to sharpen in the field, and long lasting. But it can corrode and discolor. It is also very expensive. I only recommend it on extreme use knives.
Now in everything I’ve said, I haven’t mentioned prying or piercing. First, I don’t recommend any knives to pry. Knife blades are hardened and tempered pieces of tool steel, designed to cut. In order to use one to pry, it would have to be very thick and very tough, which means of a lower temper (hardness) which would defeat the whole reason for having a hardened knife blade. Though some light prying is expected, it should not be a factor in your choice. If you need to pry in your excursions, carry a Halligan tool or a spanner wrench. They are made of forged shock resisting steels, and are not hardened so they can not splinter or snap.
Piercing depends more on the shape of the point. The application of the force of the hand will be applied to a small cross sectional area of the blade at the point. The knifemaker must balance the type of steel, the cross sectional geometry, the hardness and temper, and the toughness of the steel choice to create a blade for piercing. The material being pierced or cut also plays a great role in knife performance. That is why combat knives for defensive tactics are thin, spiky and pointed, whereas CSAR knives have more blunted or tanto tips.
Okay, I’m going a bit long here. Please take a look at the steel comparison chart on my Blades page.
I am writing regarding one of your custom knives. I am interested in the Triton. I see you have made it in both the blued, and polished steel. I particularly interested in the blued Triton.
1. Can you tell me how much it would be to order this knife? I remember it was on your site not long ago, but I hesitated too long, and now I can't remember the amount.
2. Additionally, how long would it take you to make this? I'm not in any particular hurry, but I was curious what to expect.
The Triton pictured has a beautiful red tiger-eye gem handle.
3. Would the cost be more or less the same with a jasper red river handle? I trust your judgment, however, regarding the handles, and the tiger-eye is very nice on the blued Triton.
4. All of your sheathes are lovely. This one in particular shows off the knife. I suppose you must prefer this sheath over others that don't require a snap. Do you have any thoughts about a sheath for the Triton that does not require a snap?
It has been a pleasure reading your site, and looking at all the incredible knives on display. The difficulty is choosing only one!
Thanks for the wealth of information you provided.
Hello, R. Thanks for writing.
The Triton is a great knife, and the owner of the particular model you mentioned is very happy with it. I’ll answer your questions in order.
1. The knife like the one shown would be $845.00
2. Right now, my orders are running 10-14 months, but sometimes sooner. I’m working on 75 knives right now, with the list growing longer daily. The good part is that it gives a client some time to save up for the purchase.
3. The cost of the knife would be the same with a Red River Jasper handle. I do have some of the jasper and could set some aside for your project.
4. Sheathing the Triton in a sheath designed without a snap might be difficult, but not impossible. The reason is that because of the curvature of the knife, the blade must be “rolled” out of and in to the sheath, or the cutting edges will slice the sheath. The strap makes it a little easier to execute the roll. No matter how the knife is sheathed, it takes some practice to insert and withdraw because of the curve and double razor sharp edges. The strap also shows off the handle material. A fully protective sheath could be made, but the action into and out of the sheath must be just right.
R., you don’t have to choose only one knife, just one to start with! Many of my clients are constantly building their collection over the years, and the knives continue to appreciate in value. Thanks for your kind words about my site, and let me know if you have any more questions.
Jay, what a truly incredible knife…!
Every knife I get from you is simply a pure work of art. People say that about the software I write but in my case it can’t be held in your hand, admired for the fine creative lines of the scroll work, hefted in the hand for the joy of fine balance you have achieved or passed among friends for the look of awe and admiration it evokes. You are a true master.
--Jerry M. Karnes
Dear Mr. Jay Fisher:
I would like to find out the price of this custom knife concept I had created using your guidelines.
1. Blade Design - Kochel 19" blade made of Austenitic steel, or anything you might recommend better.
2. Handle Material - (gemstone) - "Nebula Stone", with your name etched into the stone if possible? if not possible then your name on the blade would be just as nice.
3. Embellishment - Tribal design on handle, and on blade's upper surface (dull side).
4. Knife stand to compliment the knives design maybe a nebula stone base or fused with a nice wood tone maybe?
I am a huge admirer of your craft, and it would bring great joy to my life to own one of your works of art.
I just pray that I can afford it. I hope to hear from you soon.
The Kochel is a very large knife, and bringing the blade to 19”
classifies it as a sword. With high chromium stainless tool steel blade,
gemstone handle, etching and/or engraving and a custom stand, the price
for this piece would start at $9000.00, depending on exact materials
used, finish, embellishment, and accessories. Current lead time is about
30 months. Please let me know if I can make this or any other fine
custom knife for you.
It is better to be a beggar than ignorant; for a beggar only wants money, but an ignorant person wants humanity.
Long time no talk. I thought it was long overdue to give you some feedback on the Anzu knife you were kind enough to sell me 7-8 months ago.
First off, wow. What an unbelievable weapon. From its razor's edge to the perfectly formed handle, it's the most impressive and useful tool I have ever bought...because before the Anzu I didn't even know what a real combat knife was. But now I can guarantee, it will be on my gear anytime I go overseas.
Second, I got some serious use out of it in the field just recently and that edge just keeps on cutting. It's still as keen as the day I unopened it. Every time I take it out of its sheath, there are always a few who look at it and ask where in the hell I got a knife like that. Actually seeing the difference between a real combat knife and those bendy POS knives from cold steel puts it into perspective.
Anyway, I am extremely happy with the knife and I apologize for not writing sooner. Take care Jay, and the best to you and yours.
P.S. I will be contacting you in the near future with a custom knife order if you are accepting them right now.
Am a UK resident but travel for work can take me into difficult areas of the world in, support of military activity and I am looking to invest in a quality knife that can serve both as a working tool, as personal protection and item that I can pass on to my son … There is a very old saying where I come from which is applicable .. "if you can't fight, where a big hat" , which roughly translate to " If you look tough, there is a good chance that you will get left alone"..
I use a machete or a Kukri for vegetation and wood but need a sharp cutting tool that holds its edge. I have in the past used a bayonet from UK SA80 rifle, which I am ashamed to admits was the most worthless piece of junk that has been my misfortune to use. This item is used in Afghanistan and Iraq by British troops who have mostly has to buy their own primary cutting tool, a real disgrace
However, my demands are not theirs, thankfully. What has attracted me to your work is attention to the metallurgy, the finish and a sheath locking device. At the moment I am using a Wilkinson sword Dartmoor knife and a Finnish hidden tang laminated blade, but neither of which are what I want.
Rather than waste your time with a full price quote and page of options, if you could give me an indication of pricing for each of the listed knives I can then cost in if I can afford any "extras" and narrow down my choice. I also accept that craftsmanship takes time and costs, so am expecting to have to wait a couple of yrs. The only requirements I have are as listed, although I will be happy to take guidance.
Blades that I am interested in are :
Hooded warrior - is this available in a slightly smaller size?
Last Chance, with out the blade serrations
Hello, S. Thanks for writing.
I understand your concern for knives in the combat field, as our troops are not issued knives of any purposeful significance while in combat either, which is sad.
The only major change to your description would be the blade serrations on the top of the spine. I do not make knives with locking sheaths that have serrations on the spine, as the serrations would contact the stainless steel lock bar of the locking mechanism when the knife is withdrawn from or inserted in the sheath. This would destroy both components. So it has to be either a locking sheath and smooth spine, or serrations on the spine and a tension fit sheath.
Another consideration would be the bolster material; I’d suggest 304 stainless steel for the greatest corrosion resistance, as both brass and nickel silver can corrode to different degrees. Brass is fairly high maintenance.
The knives you’ve mentioned vary greatly in size, shape, profile and design, and prices would vary with the simplest design being the Last Chance. A Last Chance with a satin finished 440C stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, hardwood handle, and locking kydex, aluminum, and stainless steel sheath would quote at $1495.00.
Prices for the other knives would go up from there depending on the style and size, with the most expensive being the large Treatymaker. Since this is a double edged knife, it could not have the locking sheath for the same reasons stated above with spine serrations. Outfitted similarly to the Last Chance, and with a tension fit kydex and aluminum sheath, the Treatymaker would quote at $2895.00.
Any of the designs can be adjusted for size, and the actual final quote depends on materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories. Currently, delivery times are about 36 months.
Please let me know if I can make any of these knives for your tactical needs.
Thank you so much for the timely delivery of the Marfak Knife I ordered. The craftsmanship of this knife and sheath is exquisite. Your abilities as a custom knife maker are evident in every detail of this piece. I am sure that my Finnish friend will be very proud to own a Jay Fisher original. It should be in Finland by Friday. It is a pleasure to to see such fine work from a true artesian. It will be very hard to give this away as a gift. I am looking forward to my next purchase of one of your fine pieces.
My name is T. A. – I am currently serving with the ********** here in Baghdad, Iraq and will be here for the next 10 months. As you are aware, we are drawing down at a fairly significant rate and those of us left behind will becoming increasingly vulnerable again to attacks etc., This is my 3rd time out here and have had to rely on close in combat techniques in at least 3 situations in the last 45 days.
I currently have two knifes that I carry; however, recently saw a picture of this particular knife and was told that it was made my yourself. I am very interested in obtaining this variety of knife and or something similar.
First off – do you have this particular knife in stock or something similar/more expensive/custom? That you would have available to sell/ship immediately;
Secondly, if the answer is no I assume you have a waiting list for said knife and I would like to purchase one/get on the list etc. Again, the knife does not have to be that particular knife but something that will do the job out here. I do interviews, etc., and find myself often times in rooms where a knife might be your only chance/last and best chance of survival.
Thank you for your time and I will thoroughly read your web site in the coming days – from what I have seen it is quite impressive - glad you are an American.
My very best regards to you and your family
T., I looked over our working inventory, and we have two PJLTs
that we may be able to move in your direction. The quote on a standard
tactical model of Beauchamp-Fisher PJLT in bead blasted 440C high
chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, micarta
phenolic handle and tension fit kydex, aluminum, and nickel plated steel
sheath is $875.00. Upgrade to a locking waterproof sheath with stainless
components adds $300.00 to that quote.
Enthusiasts soon understand each other.
18th century Scottish preacher
I have been drooling over your site for a while now; there are some absolutely beautiful knives. I am a college student, an avid outdoorsman, and a knife lover. Both of these traits were passed onto me by my father who spent lots of his younger years canoe-camping in Northern US/Southern Canada and told me these stories as we went camping together in the Adirondacks. I have owned a good amount of knives over the past few years, from different Swiss Army Knives, Kershaw, Leatherman multitools, Gerber, and I was looking into purchasing a Ka-bar from a friend works for Ka-bar's base company, Vector. I have had a fascination with knives ever seen I was young when I used to hold my father's trusted knife, The Stallion. He bought it from a knifemaker in Greece, and it has a beautiful hardwood handle and a great blade with 'Stallion' etched into blade. You can easily tell the difference between this knife and the knives that I have purchased from EMS and various other outdoor retailers.
I have immense respect for a single beautiful made tool that will last for years upon years. It seems like part of the culture nowadays is to make things that will work fine for a little while and then breakdown only to be thrown away and a new item purchased in replacement. And, thus, I am looking at purchasing a tool, an investment, and a work of art from you.
My need in a knife is related to my hobby of outdoor adventures. Longer backpacking outings, climbing, white water kayaking, and canoeing are a few of the things I enjoy. As my adventures take me to farther reaches of the globe, I would like to have a trusty friend that will be useful in many situations and not fail me. I need something that will be super reliable and will be able to be used in the worst case scenarios. I guess this would be in the category of survival knives or "field" knives, if you will.
I think the style that I am looking at will be the Creature. I would also like one of the kydex waterproof locking sheaths to go with it, simply because they are one of the coolest things I have seen.
As far as steel goes, after reading through the many pages on your website, it seems that 440-C will be a great choice for overall characteristics and price. For the handle I would like a nice natural hardwood. I like darker woods with straighter grains. African Blackwood likes nice, as does Honduran Rosewood. As far as bolsters go, I am not too picky, just something that looks nice with the handle.
Being a college student, I am not exactly wealthy, but, like I said, I see the value of a good investment. That being said, I would like to keep the price below $1000. So if any of the components that I have chosen will be especially $$$, then do not be afraid to recommend a cheaper substitute.
This was long winded, but thank you for taking time out of your clearly busy schedule. Once I get a quote response from you, I will decide whether I am ready to place an order.
Hi, T. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your interest.
For the knife you specified, I’m afraid I can’t make it within your budget. As you’ve detailed, the knife would start at $1500.00, and go up from there depending on exact materials used, finish, embellishment, and accessories. Even if you eliminated the locking sheath and went for a tension fit sheath, that would only drop the price $300.
Please keep me in mind for any of your knife interest.
I received the knife and sheath at my parents. It is way beyond great looking. It is far more than what I expected. Thank you for making such a nice sheath for me. Unfortunately I didn't get to use the knife on any game this fall. The animals were there but just not where we were at the right time. Maybe next year. I did get my Oryx 3 weeks ago though.
I must say as a knife aficionado, your site has been the most
informative and detailed of any custom maker I have seen to date.
I'm a soldier currently serving with the Second "Dagger" Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division and I'm contacting several artists in regards to a tactical fixed blade that I can carry with me here in Iraq. Your tactical blades section is more than impressive. I've sent correspondence to Jim Siska, Reese Weiland and David Broadwell all of whom I admire for their artistry but when I came upon your site it occurred to me that utility is just as, if not more important than the aesthetic. I am taken with the lines you use in particular for the "Treatymaker", "Phobos", and "Kadi" blades and the "Triton" kerambit looks nothing short of deadly efficiency bound to a hand held work of art.
Ok, so here's what I'd like to know. How much would it cost for a Kadi or Treatymaker style blade of S30v or D2 with the unit insignia of "The Big Red One" worked into the design of the blade, either with engraving or embossed or a change to the shape of the base of the blade if that would even work? Lignum-Vitae handle material and the fittings of your choice (with unit insignia possibly worked into the fitting instead if that would work better). Let me know what you think and what you can do and approximate price range for a blade length between 7 and 9 inches.
Hello, B. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your kind words about
my work and web site. More than anything, thanks for your service to our
For a general idea, a single edged combat knife in the 7-9” blade length in bead blasted CPMS30V or D2 with 304 stainless steel fittings, micarta handle, and a tension fit kydex, aluminum, and steel sheath would start at $1600 and go up from there, depending on design, materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories. I also do the locking sheaths and variations and mounting options.
B., the problem is that currently, new orders are taking 48 months, due to a great demand and backlog. I have two options that you might consider:
The first option is that I’m completing four new tactical knives (just finished the knives today and am starting sheaths tomorrow) that I will post for sale on the public part of the website. I don’t know if any of them would interest you; they are new designs.
Another option is that I’ve started a new program with my son-in-law, James Beauchamp. James has trained in knife making for several years directly under me, in my studio. In partnership, James has agreed to make standard tactical knives in collaboration with me in an effort to get these knives out to clients like you who have a critical tactical, response, or combat need of more immediate nature. The knives are the same design, style, and made the same way, to the same high quality standards as I do. Please remember that these Fisher-Beauchamp models are fully guaranteed for workmanship, under my name and studio, and are as well-made as if only my hands have made them. The only difference you will see as a client is the Fisher-Beauchamp maker’s mark, and a much shorter wait time (in the order of months, perhaps weeks). As this is a new program this year, I haven’t posted it on the website yet, but will in the near future. He’s already made and delivered knives for professional emergency response units and USAF Pararescuemen.
Please let me know if you’re interested, and thanks again for your service.
My knife came yesterday and all I can say is Wow. This is easily the nicest knife that I have ever held. The design is well thought out down to the smallest details and is exactly what I was looking for. Very ergonomic, capable of just about anything I would need a knife for and a formidable weapon for self defense. The craftsmanship is Incredible. The symmetry of the blade and the fineness of the edge are magnificent. The mirror polish is just like looking in the mirror. And it has the kind of balance that makes it want to be in your hand. I really like both sheaths and your tactical sheaths is far nicer than any that I have seen. I could go on and on. I'm moving to 30 acres In Colorado in about 4 months so I wanted a nice knife to carry out there and this one got the job. I plan on keeping this knife until I'm old and giving it to a younger person in my family.
I feel like I got a very good deal from you as far as pricing, it could have cost much more and I would still have been happy. It is a privilege and honor to own this knife and I am deeply grateful to have been allowed to get it.
You will probably hear from me in a year or so and I will order a investment/display knife so that I have a mint condition piece from you as I am now a big fan of your work.
Things don't turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.
--James A. Garfield
United States of America
Dear Jay Fisher..good Morning.
By all means please make Little Venus for me. If I need to put $100 down I can do that before you actually start work..why don't we work that out if necessary?
Thankful to be a patron to your great art..I am enthusiastic to be a "parity to your equation".
Let me know if you want to talk some more about this..I love talking about Jay Fisher knives. Haven't been able to convert anyone else, but after I have one of your knives for a visual aid I bet you get a lot of orders..I guess people are used to me exaggerating how great knives are! ha ha.
See you later..
Sounds great. It will be a sweet dagger. A fun project for me to make and a beautiful piece for you to own.
Thanks again, J., it's nice to meet you. I have many fine clients who are excited about my work, and I know they try to share their enthusiasm. Since it really is a rare world (this world of fine custom knives), all that many can offer is confused stares. If it's not mainstream, after all, what could be the appeal?
No worry though, you're in good company, and that group is growing all the time.
Thanks for your patronage and support. Please feel free to ask any questions at any time.
Thanks for making the knife. The workmanship and artistry are superb as always and I am really starting to like the new trademark! Buying a knife is not as difficult as it may seem. You really only have three choices. You could buy a production knife at your local sporting goods / hardware store which would work fine until you had to sharpen it; then you would probably throw it away because, after all, mom was right – you get what you pay for. You could buy a piece of jewelry that looks like a knife that is a piece of art made by a master artist; don’t drop this piece because it could become pieces and lose 50% - 100% of its value. Or you could buy a tool that is a knife that is also a piece of art made by a master artist. If you gel your hair, wear a diamond stud earring, or are otherwise gender confused – you might want to opt out for choices one and two. But if you are a man and want a knife that will work 100% of the time, something you can stake your life on if it becomes necessary; but still looks beautiful when you are not using it – then you have only one choice; and that choice is to queue up for a Jay Fisher!
it was good to hear from you. I love to talk knives with someone who has knowledge and experience. A lot of what you explain I have not heard from any one else and sometimes I hear the exact opposite. Until I have done what you have though, I would be irrational to react with programmed responses. More and more it seems you are very independent and that others who have your knowledge just aren't chiming in.
I thought about all you said. You make a good point, they are talking about a distinguishing feature and not the overall quality. Plus, they are missing such a vital element that you have....namely the feedback from real users and incorporating that into the knife work. You could not make as much art and knife work as you do AND get all the experience and cutting time with knife in hand as tool that all your customers together have accumulated....
Thanks for writing,
It is true and sad how little attention is paid to the parts of this business that are important. Everyone wants to have a gimmick, a little something to separate his work (or the company's work) from the rest of the pack in order to achieve increased sales volume, while not really making anything different or better.
I believe this happens when a maker or company makes a transition from creating individual fine pieces to cranking out volume and mass. Then, the process of business goes from being about creation to being about production, sales, and accounting.
I've had numerous opportunities to go into a volume type mass production line of knives. But my mind then moves to the logical conclusion that it would have me end up sitting in an office, crunching numbers, whittling the pay scales and materials costs down, in essence: lowballing the entire operation for the cheapest investment and the highest profit margin. This is essentially the job of business accountants, bean counters, and if I have to become one, I'd just as soon quit.
See, big companies selling knives have one problem: sales. Their entire focus is on how to get more sales with less investment. They want to sell more than the other knife companies, and make more profit, while spending less, paying their employees less, and yet have knife buyers return for additional sales.
The small artists and craftsman's shop is about quality and creation. For comparison, I have no problem with sales, not one! Everything I make will sell, sooner or later. My problem is with production. Since high quality and unique creations all take time, I can only produce so many pieces. And more orders and requests weekly push back the delivery times every month.
I'm not complaining about my production bottleneck, and thankfully, neither are my clients. They want high quality and original, worthwhile investments, and I'm grateful for their patience and input, most of all.
Kites rise against, not with the wind. No man ever worked his passage anywhere in a dead calm.
19th century American poet
I was browsing the internet and found your website and I must say I am quite impressed. Now I have been a fan of ancient style Japanese swords and I found your articles on that quite interesting to say the least. I do have one question though. I actually found your site trying to find a place that could help explain to me the different grades, gauges, types, etc. of metals used. Specifically I have seen many swords stating: hand-forged and folded ASSAB-K120C powder steel blade, differentially tempered to produce an HRC60 edge, HRC40 back and a distinctive hamon. Blades are hand forged and folded from ASSAB K-120C Swedish steel. The traditional clay-tempering process is used to produce an edge hardness of HRC 60 and a spine hardness of HRC 40.
Now all that may as well be Latin to me. I just wanted to know if you knew what that meant or if it's all just fictitious to sell the swords.
Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail.
Hello, N. Thanks for writing.
As with many factories, an unusual steel designation is confusing, to say the least, and disingenuous at the worst. Unfortunately, this is all too common with factories. The people who write the advertising copy are not craftsmen or metallurgists, so do their best to sell the product. On my frequently asked questions page, I elaborate a bit on steel types and designations, and factories often use this sales technique to give some “rare” or even “mystical” property to their steel. This particular steel is made in Sweden, and though a foreign country, not anything mystical or special about their steel making processes there.
I did some research on the particular steel mentioned, and suspect that it is a plain high carbon steel, similar to ATSM type 1085 or 1095. These are high carbon steels, often called “plain steels” as they have few major alloys present, they are not tool steels. They are easily worked and forgiving in projects such as swords. In my opinion, they are relatively cheap steels, easily attainable, and useful for forging. The word “powder” in the description is suspect; because true particle steels are much more expensive than the completed sword described would be (I’m assuming you’re talking about the SH1201 Kami katana for about $1500).
True powder technology steels (properly referred to as PARTICLE METALLURGY steels are formed from compressed particles similar to sintering, which are then heated and forged into a solid billet (chunk that becomes a sword). I believe then, their description is a misnomer, used to gather their steel under the umbrella of Crucible Particle Metallurgy steels is non-specific, and does not detail any components of the steel alloy.
Forged simply means formed, and can be with or without heat. So there are no clear details there, either.
Differentially tempering was used early in the history of sword making because the blade steels were so poor that you could not have a wear resistant blade that was also flexible. So the entire blade was hardened, then some wet clay was applied to the cutting edge, then the uncoated part of the blade was heated to temper back the hardness of the spine, making it more flexible, while the protective clay would shield the cutting edge, which remained hard. Then, a line was formed at the border of the hard and softer steel, called a hamon line. This is commonly done by quite a few knife makers presently who forge knives, because they can’t and don’t use high alloy steels in their work, and must do something to make a sword blade flexible yet hard at the cutting edge. There is also a traditional romance with forging, and guys like to keep the history alive with this type of handwork. There are some absolutely beautiful forged blades out there, and you will pay dearly for them.
I’ll say this about the advertisement’s hardness scale. If they left the spine at 40 Rc, that is way too soft, and the sword would bend at the spine, and crack on the hardened edge.
N., there is a lot of hype used out there to sell swords. Factory swords mass produced are big ticket items for factories, so they’ll do anything to try to make their products similar to historic or finely made arms by true craftsmen. I can tell you that if you were interested in a truly well made fine custom katana crafted in the traditional style with modern fine tool steels, there are several good makers who specialize in that type of work (I don’t imitate historical pieces because, frankly, they’ve already been done). a REAL katana by one of these modern masters will easily cost $15,000, at least ten times the factory sword. So the price, though high for a mass produced item, is a dead giveaway. If you’re into collecting factory swords, that’s a lot of money for a knock-off. You might ask yourself what the piece would be worth in five, ten, or twenty years, because that’s not an investment, and it will depreciate.
Thanks for the inquiry, I hope this helps.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I want to say thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of knife making. I've been reading your website on and off for the past couple of months and I really appreciate you putting the information out there. It has been extremely helpful for a beginner such as myself and I am sure it will continue to be a valuable resource as I hone my skills at this wonderful craft. Again, thank you.
Here's an email from a guy that was hoping I could supply his knife club with a bunch of very nice daggers at a cheap price...
Thanks for writing back Jay. Those knifes are fantastic and no doubt
worth every penny, but there are just a little out of
reach of most of members in pricing. No doubt you get what you pay for and these are serious tools.
We have just sent off our first order to American K*** and we are expecting to send one soon to C***
R***** so that is about the price range we are shopping in. This will definitely change over
time though. What I will do though is put it up to the members and see what we can do in a few months.
thanks so much and all the best.
Thanks M., for asking.
I'm not a small factory like some of those you mentioned, and my knives are not mass or machine produced, or have parts or components farmed out. The quality of my work is high, and I have a good following and long waiting list. Right now, I've got 75 knives on the bench, every one of them unique. This is a small number for the small factories or "group" shops, but for one man, it's a bunch.
I mostly prefer to make unique, singular pieces. If you or your friends are ever interested in very fine works that appreciate in value over the years, I'd be honored if you would consider my work.
Just got the Kineau yesterday. Gorgeous. One of the best things about your blades is how you can't even remotely capture the soul or the feel of it in a photo. Every expectation exceeded. There's definitely some rhyme and reason behind "Greatest Living Knifemaker" title.
This is a internet bulletin board (forum) post in response to a knife maker who wondered if it was possible to go full time knife making.
Hello, from a full time knifemaker. I usually don't post, but this topic hits
home. This is just my opinion, about what has worked for me. I've been making
knives for about 28 years, and been full time for the last 18. Yep, full time.
This is absolutely how I make my living.
Most of what's been written in this post has truth, at least truth for the person writing it. Success at anything takes commitment and passion. You have to love it, or you won't keep it up. If you don't follow your passion, you might look back at your life and wonder what could have been.
Personally, I enjoy making both custom knives and also my own creations. A knife user and client is usually more field-conscious than a maker, as a maker spends his time in the shop, and the user spends it with a knife in his hand. I have learned a lot from these guys, they have the knowledge and expertise to know what they need in a fine custom knife, and I know what is available and how to make it. I have an active partnership with my clients, and learn from them in every knife. I'm still learning, after over 2000 knives made and sold.
I also take time to make my own creations, and sell those too. Each one is a learning experience, each one another milepost.
You can make a million bucks in this job, if you're willing to start a knife factory. I realized long ago that if I had to be a manager in a factory, I'd rather quit.
For some, knife making can sometimes be lonely. I work alone, but have contacts with dozens of clients at any given time. If I get the need for contact, it's surprising how smart and clear a good conversation with a fellow knife enthusiast can be. Great friendships in my life have started through knives, and will continue to.
Yes, knife making is a business. Those guys at the tables next to you are usually not your friends, they are your competition. Just show them a beautiful, fantastic elaborate work of art, and watch them cringe. I do have other knifemakers who are real friends, but they are few and precious. Incidentally, I rarely do shows anymore, because I don't have to, and because my order list is so long, it wouldn't be fair to my clients to have to wait on me while I build inventory for and attend shows.
Here are some of the most important things I have learned:
I've got lots of opinions, and everyone sails their boat differently. That is
the beauty of this. You can take your time and make a little money, your can
jump in with both feet, you can make pieces for museums... it's all up to you.
No one can give you that answer.
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
Good evening sir,
First, I'd like apologies for my many questions. I live in the city of Ventura California and was going to sell some knives I've made at a local college flea-market. The knives are made of high quality steel, no bolsters, mirrored polish and stainless handles. I lack the skill of making bolsters, but I am working on it. The length of the knives from tip to top is 12",11",10", all with the same mechanics, but different styles. What should I set the price at, or is it a good idea at all. How did you start out?
Thanks for your consideration and time.
Everyone is different, and I can’t compare my own experiences selling my first knives, as that was in the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president!
Here’s an idea. Go to some of the knife forums here on the internet. There you will see knives for sale by everyone from beginners to experienced makers. You’ll notice that the beginner’s knives are inexpensive, and the seasoned maker’s knives are more expensive. Be ruthlessly blunt in your comparison of your knives to the beginner’s knives. Compare fit, finish, complexity, and style. Try to evaluate without your own personal passion for what you think your knives are worth. As you come up with a price, then ask yourself, “Am I willing to exchange this knife for that price, or would I just rather keep it?” If you want to sell the knives really fast, cut your price below what you think the comparative pieces are worth. You might be surprised how fast they sell.
This conversation and comparison will guide you as to what you should charge for your work. Also, for low end knives, the forums are a great place to sell as people are looking for inexpensive knives there, and that is something that was totally unavailable when I started making knives.
My fiance gave me the knife "Tusas" as a gift, and it is even more
beautiful than it looked in the pictures. The craftsmanship is
absolutely flawless, and it is obvious that it is of the highest
quality with just a glance. The attention to detail is absolutely
amazing, from the filework, to the finishing, to the engraving. It
arrived very quickly, he tells me, and we are both extremely pleased.
Thanks so much!
I came across your site while surfing the net. I felt the need to pay my respects and sincerely congratulate you! Your knives are masterpieces! Each and every knife is more beautiful than the other! You are a real artist! And what a site! All the info one could ever want...! I am a collector and I am definitely want to buy, if I decide which one ... I want them all! Bravo!
Dr. B. N. T.
I am an amateur blacksmith and engineering student hoping to break into knife making. Your website has provided me with more truly useful information than not only any other source, but ALL other sources that I have researched. I just wanted to say thank you; thank you for taking the time to get to the real point and cutting out the fluff. Thank you for putting your reputation on the line in a world where the vast majority of people don't take responsibility for their actions. Thank you.
Hello, D. Thanks for writing.
I'm glad my site has been an inspiration for you. The modern metalworker is not limited to primitive ways of construction, though there are those who limit themselves to this past. It may be romantic to hold onto the hyperbole and mystery of the cutting edge, but real clients nowadays simply want the best knife that can be made for their dollar.
I believe that there should be no mystery about that!
Thanks for the new pictures. The knife looks absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to see it in person! I think of all the knife designs you have, this is the one I like the most. It took me a long time to narrow down which design I wanted, and even then I could not pick just 1. (that’s why I ended up ordering 2!) After seeing your website, I knew you were the guy I wanted to make my knife! I have never seen the quality and scope of knives that you have listed on you site and CD-rom. At first I thought your knives were too expensive (for me); but the more I learned about fine knives, the more I have come to realize that a Jay Fisher custom knife is actually very reasonably priced. I have bought other knives that are close in price to yours; but the custom knives that I have received from you, are superior in every way. Not to mention that I was personally involved in every aspect of the creation of the knife (choosing the design, handle type, blade material, blade finish, embellishments and so on). I just wanted to sincerely thank you for creating a set of knives that I am sure to enjoy for a lifetime!
After he recieved his knife:
Just a quick note to let you know that I received the knife today. It came out even better than I expected – which after seeing your previous work is hard to do! The mirror finish on the blade is absolutely perfect and the sheath is simply amazing. I took the knife to a friends house and he was impressed as well. I left one of your CD Roms with him to see if we can hook him on your work! Thank you for a beautiful knife. It is now the centerpiece of my collection.
Mr. Fisher, Is it possible you could make me a knife/art piece? I
would like a PJLT. If possible, the handle done in a obsidian snowflake
1 or 4 or orbicular jasper green and gold. Beautiful stones.
What can I do to help?
Hi, J. Thanks for writing and thanks for your interest in my work.
The PJLT is a great knife, and though I make plenty of them for military use in micarta, it’s always nice to make one with a fine gemstone handle.
The final price quote of such a knife depends on materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories (sheath). To give you a ball park idea, a PJLT with mirror finished 440C high chromium stainless tool steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, a standard gemstone handle (like you mentioned), and a fine hand-tooled leather or tension fit kydex sheath would start at $895.00. Upgrade it to a locking stainless steel sheath or exotic inlay sheath and the price would be $1095.00.
Right now, my orders are taking about a year, and all that is required is a $100 deposit, with the balance due on completion.
Please let me know if this is within your budget, and you would like to discuss any specifics.
Hi Jay, received Reaper today. AWESOME!!!!!!!!! very cool, thanks.
I read through your "What I do and Don't Do" page, and I didn't see my question listed. I am in the process of leaning to make knives and swords, but have hit a snag. I bought some 2" thick steel to make my own pommel, but my bandsaw wants nothing to do with cutting that. Would you make a pommel if I provided a sketch with dimensions? Thanks so much,
Hello, C. G.
I have to smile, you’ve got me on that one. I tried to address every inquiry on my “What I do” page, but I evidently missed that one! I’m sorry, I only work on my own knives.
It sounds like you have a problem cutting your 2” thick steel. Could it be hardened already? That would explain why it won’t cut. Also, in cutting metal that thick, you need to use a new low count tooth blade (like a 10 tpi) and run it faster than stainless steel. Even then the cutting will be very slow and tedious… and wax lube can help.
Hope this helps,
Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I am in utter awe of your work. I'm a 17 year old aspiring knife maker in northern VA. I stumbled across your site and immediately was hooked on the pictures. It was all I could do to pull myself away from the knives and see if you offered training or anything of the like. I quickly found you didn't, and even though a bit disappointed, I very much understand why.
I wanted to simply let you know that you have quickly become a hero in knife making for me. If one day I can become close to making a knife half as beautiful as the worst of yours, I would be extremely proud. Perhaps one day I can order a knife from you.
I read the "Please, Serious knife purchase inquiries only" but I thought, that perhaps after a long hard days work, the knowledge that your work is truly appreciated and an utterly amazing inspiration to someone could lighten your day. I do not wish to waste your time any longer. Forgive me for taking this much. I hope you and your family have wonderful days, and that your business prospers.
Hello Jay! The "Argye" arrived and proves that
you are the best craftsman/artist that is available to anyone who has a
dream of a superb knife.
I'm interested in the availability, and purchase of, one of your Tactical blades. I've looked over your basic pricing info, as well as the 'tactical knives' section of your website. Word is you're THE man, and this is THE field blade to get, so here I am. The description from your website of the blade I'm interested in getting is as follows:
United States Air Force Pararescue LighT: The PJLT
Mirror finished 440C high chromium martensitic stainless tool steel,
with full filework, fully tapered tang, half-blade length swage,
and 2" of positive rip tooth serrations.
Bolster: bead blasted 304 stainless steel, dovetailed,
fiberglass linen reinforce micarta handle,
with stainless steel pins and lanyard liner.
Sheath: double thickness kydex hot-formed over aluminum welt frame, secured with steel Chicago screws and aluminum belt loops.
I appreciate your time and consideration, sir.
The PJLT is a very good knife, proven in combat and rescue. It is my
most popular CSAR knife. One like you described would be $475.00
complete. I make it a bit different than the posting you copied in this
email, and that is with an additional rear bolster, for greater strength
in the handle.
My backlog is about a year, but I often can move military clients up faster in the list, so I may be able to get it to you sooner.
Let me know.
Please do not use these emails as comparisons for current prices; the emails are dated.
I just wanted you to know that I got back from a four day trip and was pleasantly surprised to see that the knife had arrived. The pictures that you sent do no justice to your craftsmanship, it is outrageous. I will be very proud to be able to present my son with this knife at his graduation from boot camp. The locking sheath is well made and will keep the knife very secure, again your dedication to detail is shown in everything that you do. I hope he will never have to use it defensively, but if need be, I know it will not fail him. Once again, my prayers go out to your son, your family, and all that are serving this great country of ours.
God Bless America.
I'd like to buy a Reaper push dagger. I assume this design is a DAGGER; I want symmetrical double edged, double sided blade. What finishes are available other than black or stainless? It appears from the one picture that there is an inset in micarta or something similar. I'd like a red or red and black insert of micarta, G-10, dymondwood, or something similar. Finally, I'd like a sheath, preferably leather since kydex scratches. What's the cost, payment terms, and delivery prospects? --C. S.
Hello, C. Thanks for writing, and thanks for your interest in the
One of the best steels to use for this knife if a keen edge is needed, and being able to field-sharpen the knife is necessary, would be O-1 high carbon tungsten-vanadium alloy tool steel. That is what the two reapers on my site are made of, and they have both performed great, one even in combat in Iraq. The only limitation of O-1 is that it has to be waxed and kept dry, or it will rust. Corrosion can be inhibited somewhat by bluing , just like a blued firearm. Most reapers on my site have been blued.
A reaper similar to those pictured would start at $1200.00 and go up from there depending on materials, finish, embellishment, and accessories. Currently, my orders are taking 18 months to two years, due to the large amount of custom knife orders.
Please let me know if you would like to discuss details, or order this or any other fine custom knife.
Friday night I came home to a package from you. When I opened it I was amazed at how it turned out. It is even better than I had hoped for. My wife is even impressed and normally she could care less about my outdoor/hunting goodies. The file work on the spine gives it a very nice touch of class. The blade shape, blade contour, handle shape and size are all absolutely as I dreamed. The balance is so good it feels like an extension of my hand. I must admit that even though it was built exactly as I lined out the blade was a litter bigger than expected. That is a good sized chunk of steel. But it will be perfect for my uses. It has already pulled duty cutting open cardboard boxes and other stuff. I am always looking for an excuse to use it. I am going to have to get a new diamond stone to sharpen it though. My extra hard black Arkansas stone wouldn't touch the edge to dress it up after all the cutting I have done with it. I guess a fine diamond stone is in order.
Even though this is a work of art it will see use everyday being carried on my belt in uniform. As a soldier and hunter who has carried a lot of knives over the years I have never owned a blade like this. I feel very secure in knowing that if I am ever forced into a situation where this knife is called into service to pull my backside out of a bind it will perform no matter what I ask of it. This is the first knife I have ever felt capable of meeting those demands. On top of being an incredible working tool it is incredibly beautiful too.
My friend Steve who saw it Friday night about had a coronary when I used it to cut open some boxes with it. He feels I should put it on a shelf and just fondle it occasionally. When I told him it was going to be my daily carry knife he actually choked and spewed Coke all over the place. That alone made it all worth it. I cant wait to take it to work and show it off. Thanks again for making me the knife of my dreams a reality.
--SGT W. B.
Nature has made occupation a necessity to us; society makes it a duty; habit may make it a pleasure.
18th century English critic
It is rather refreshing to come across inspired and inspiring people like you. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, knowledge, and expertise.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I don't want to eat up too much of your time, but I just wanted to express my appreciation for your work. I was browsing through "Blade" magazine, and as usual I was looking at the knives, and generally admiring the craftsmanship, and then I came across the "Raptor Karambit". Having cruised through many a Blade mag. I've seen my share of art knives, and unique knives. I've even been fortunate enough to have handled a few custom pieces.
And still your knife stopped me cold. The Raptor is an amazing piece, the shape of the knife is exquisite, something about it literally sends shivers up and down my spine, and the handle is so perfect, the deep curves of the grip really feel complimentary to the style of the blade. You've inspired me to try my hand at that style of knife, I've never even attempted a sickle type blade, working mostly with a japanese style in mind.
All in all, without talking your ear off too much, I just wanted to express my appreciation for an inspiring blade. And to offer my congratulations (for what its worth coming from an amateur) on a truly moving piece of work. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, and a happy holiday season. Thank you for contributing the "Raptor" as well as your other works to the knife community.
Hi, B. Thanks for writing.
I wasn't aware that Blade had featured the "Raptor" until last night when I got a late call from a New Yorker who had seen it and cruised my site. I think it will generate a lot of interest, as it is a real, usable tactical knife that is very finely made, yet steps into the art knife category.
I received my knife yesterday, and I am astounded at the workmanship and beauty of my knife! Are you sure you charged me enough? The file work is the one touch that really sets it off.....I'm still trying to figure out just "how did Jay do that!?" I do feel bad it caused you a few stitches...I can tell you one thing....it is dangerous to grab it without clear intent! You were not just talking when you said it had aggressive points everywhere:) It is a piece I will treasure, and even though it should be put under glass, I will carry it on my diving and flying adventures.
I know you are busier than heck. I read your do and don't page and some of the pricing information. My basic question is, "Roughly, how long would a custom service/tactical knife take with your current orders in place?". I know things change and such, I'm still in the process of trying to figure out exactly what I want/need. A lot of reading to do, yet! :)
Thanks for any help,
You caught me at my computer, so here goes:
My time of completion really depends on the piece. If it’s a military or tactical unit, I do those regularly, and try to have a couple in every batch. Of course, the ones I’m working on now sold before completion… so the early bird gets the worm.
Worst case: 8 months. I know… ouch. But I’m working on 75 knives right now. Let me know what you’re interested in, I might have one on the way!
I've owned on of your knives for about 5 years now. It was purchased at a fair in New Mexico, and given to me as a gift. It's a small drop-point skinner, and a beautiful piece of work! Not only is it a piece of art, it is extremely functional and holds a great edge. I have put it to the test quite a few times in the past years, and it has performed flawlessly in every occasion. I'm proud to use it and proud to show it off as well.
That little knife is perfect for skinning deer and hogs though. Perfectly balanced, complete control. I just wanted to say thanks for a great product. Thanks for a great knife!
Hi Jay -
I've attached a .JPG file for the design for a new custom piece taken from your “Kapteyn” design and inspired by the Nebula Stone material you recently received.
Vision: From end to end the piece flows like a stream of stardust within a deep space nebula. The black Nebula handle visually compliments a black center within the blade (material of your choice) which fades from the base to tip. The mirror finished 440c blade (around the black center) matches polished stainless bolsters at both ends, and the whole piece is brought together by polished, exposed full tang.
- Polished Nedula Stone Handle
- Exposed full tang (no file work pattern unless you think it wouldn't detract from a fluid look and feel)
- 304 Austenitic Stainless Steel bolsters, mirror polished (or recommended alternative)
- Mirror finished 440c Blade
- Black blade center, starting from handle and fading to tip (any metal, material or finish determined to both look the best and be cost effective)
- Special Notation: Please don’t use any Nickel as I’m allergic to it. Thanks.
- 13 to 14 inches in total length (whichever you recommend)
- Proportions similar to your Kapteyn design (as shown on attached file), or as suggested.
- Perhaps a top-edge on the last 2 inches of the blade
My budget for this piece is $1,000 to $1,250. If you determine the completed piece as described is either above or below my budget, please recommend how we can modify the piece to get it within range. I’ll send the $100 custom design fee at your direction. My birthday is April 19th and receiving it by then would be great, and if you can’t I understand.
Discovering your website has really brought out a passion for your type of work, and I look forward to your feedback. Thank you in advance.
Hello, A. Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind words about
my work and my site.
I appreciate the thought you’ve put in to the design and idea, but I’m afraid I could not adjust it to fit your budget and still do the knife justice. With your description, I would quote it at over $6000.00. Also, my delivery times are running at about 48 months now due to a huge list of orders.
I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe that it is better to be free than be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than be ignorant.
H. L. Mencken
the one thing you still can't get off of the internet is the way a knife feels. I wish anyone thinking of buying a Jay Fisher knife could hold Eridanus in their hands for just a few moments. Then there would be no doubt that buying a knife from Jay is the right thing to do. I've bought some other blades of the internet that photographed well, but when you got hold of them, they didn't feel or handle like much. Eridanus just feels like it belongs in your hand. You can get a knife anywhere, but this is a work of art.
Oh and by the way the sheath alone is worth the price.
... for being here. I'll add to this page from time to time, so please check back.
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|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 1||Knife Making Instruction|
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|Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 4|